Easter Felt Crafts- #BostikBloggers

When I was a child, my dad made us a big felt board on the back of a Carrom board and we spent hours playing with felt shapes, making up and telling stories using this board as our base. We had a huge bag of different felt ‘stories’, but now, 20 years and two continents later, I can’t begin to image what ever happened to all of that. Unfortunately I don’t really view myself as particularly crafty – I mean, I can’t make a lady bird out of felt, or a fish out of felt, for that matter… but a little bit of Pinterest and Google later, I realised I probably can make them out of hearts, and I can make hearts!

In our BostikBloggers box we seem to receive some felt sheets every month, so with last month’s box I made these heart-based-animals.

Bostik Bloggers February

This month the theme is Easter, and our box contained yellow and pink felt sheets, so I made some Easter eggs, spring flowers, bunnies, chickens and a duck. Easter Felts

I need to buy a nice large felt sheet for the girls to be able to use their felt shapes properly, but with any luck, and a bit of practice, I will be able to make them many more shapes in the weeks and months to come.

For these I didn’t really follow a pattern as such – I just free cut, which meant I made some mistakes, but in general you can see what they’re supposed to be. Easter Felts

My girls really loved their Easter shapes, despite Ameli thinking the bunny is a bit creepy looking, Aviya figured since it was pink it had to be fine. Perfect logic in my book! I know they’re not perfect, but they are fun, and that’s good enough for me.

The Incredible Journey Free Printable Resources

Over the last few weeks we’ve been working on The Incredible Journey – by working on, I mean ‘reading’! We’ve also done a few other activities – a board game and an animal categorising ‘game’. I’ve also made some of our usual printable activities to share with you.

I remember reading The Incredible Journey as a child, and finding it disappointing compared to the movie, and reading it now as an adult I can see why – it’s not as Americanised as the movie – the characters have names you have to think about and they don’t talk as their movie-counterparts do. It’s not a long book, but it’s not always easy reading either. It’s a beautiful story of love, courage, friendship and perseverance and purpose though, and well worth reading together.

Below you will find letter writing practice sheet, a crossword that asks questions about the story (you won’t be able to answer this from watching the movie) and an easy and a difficult maze and finally, a word search. This is a harder word search, because some of the words go backwards.

To download a worksheet, just click on the image. It’ll open a PDF in a new window for you to print.

The Incredible Journey Writing Practice

Children can trace the letters to help them learn the sizing of letters compared to each other, or simply just to practice.

The Incredible Journey Handwriting Practice

The Incredible Journey Crossword Puzzle

An 11 clue crossword puzzle – the answers are at the bottom of the page. I thought rather than use a second page, just pop them on the bottom and fold the footer area over so little eyes can’t see the answers.

The Incredible Journey Crossword

The Incredible Journey Mazes

There are two mazes here to choose from – a simple one here and a tougher one. Pictured is the harder one.

The Incredible Journey difficult maze

The Incredible Journey Word Search

This word search is a little harder than the ones I normally do, I think, because the words run back to front and from the bottom up. I don’t normally like doing them this was as I think it’s confusing for younger participants, but it’s how it worked out this time.

The Incredible Journey Word Search

If you’ve enjoyed these activities, remember to check the rest of the tag for The Incredible Journey resources

Incredible Journey.

The Incredible Journey Board Game

I’d been trying to think of a way to do a story board around The Incredible Journey that showed the highlights and the progression of the story, but everything seemed to be a bit over Ameli’s (6yo) head, so I had the idea that a board game with the general outline of the story could work and so The Incredible Journey board game was born.

To play this game, you’ll need to print out the image below (landscape is best). You will need a dice and two or three markers. You can use small animal toys or pompoms or whatever, really. The game works well with two or three players.

The rules are pretty simple – start at Longridge’s House, throw the dice and move the required amount of spaces. If you land on a text space, follow the instructions and if not, carry on, each taking a turn until everyone’s helped Bodger, Luath and Tao find their way home.* The bad things that happen to the animals might cause players to have to miss a turn or go back a few spaces, while helpful humans help them progress. The only exception is when Tao is swept away by the river – land on that one and you can immediately skip 7 spaces to meet up with the canine friends.

We found that only playing with the dice up to 4 made the game last longer, so if we rolled a five or six, we just rolled again.
The Incredible Journey Boardgame

Click here for printable version of The Incredible Journey Board Game

*In the movie, Homeward Bound: The Incredibly Journey the animals had different names, Bodger is the young dog instead of the old one and is called Chance, Luath is the old dog, instead of the young energetic Labrador, and is called Shadow and Tao is called Sassy.

We designed this game and have been playing it as part of our study unit on The Incredible Journey

We hope you enjoy this little DIY board game!

Incredible Journey

Classifying Animals Into Categories

We’re busy reading The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford which starts off with a passage describing the landscape around Ontario, Canada, and the wildlife found in the forests.  I decided this passage was a great place to do some ‘classifying living things‘.

“… all these human beings together are as a handful of sand upon the ocean shores, and for the most part there is silence and solitude and an uninterrupted way of life for the wild animals that abound there: moose and deer, brown and black bears; lynx and fox; beaver, muskrat and otter; fishers, mink and marten. The wild duck rest there and the Canada goose, for this is a fringe of the central migratory flyway. The clear tree-fringed lakes and rivers are filled with speckled trout and steelheads, pike and pickerel and whitefish.”

I grabbed a bunch of photos from Canadian Geographic and put together a sheet of pictures with categories to divide them into.

Click here to download the printable worksheet.

I recommend laminating the cards. Canadian Animals

Create columns and sort by:

⦁ Bipedal animals and Quadruped animals
⦁ Nocturnal or Diurnal animals
⦁ Terrestrial or Aquatic animals
⦁ Herbivores, Carnivores or Omnivores
⦁ Conservation Status – Common or Endangered

And because most of us haven’t done Animal Sciences in some time, here are the Cambridge Dictionary Definitions to help you out. (Us mamas have to stick together!!)

  • Biped – an animal that walks on two legs
  • Quadruped – an animal that walks on four legs
  • Nocturnal – active during the ​night
  • Diurnal – active during the day
  • Terrestrial animals –  ​living on the ​land ​rather than in the ​water or ​air
  • Aquatic animals – ​living or ​growing in ​water
  • Herbivore – animal that ​eats only ​plants
  • Carnivore – animal that eats only animals
  • Omnivore – animal that eats plants and animals

Incredible Journey

 

Valentine’s Craft Ideas #BostikBloggers

I was really pleased to find out that we’d been selected to be Bostik Bloggers again this year, and our first box is Valentine’s themed. It may be about a month off the celebration of love, but it’s never too early to get started, so here are some Valentine’s Craft Ideas for you!

Valentine’s Heart-flakesHeart Flakes

These are as individual as snow flakes, but they’re fun to make.

You’ll need equally sized strips of paper, preferably of the double-sided variety. Fold them in half without squashing the middle, and glue the loose ends together. Once they are secure, glue the strips together – you may find it easier to glue them at opposite angles (so in a figure of eight) rather than all together like in the picture bottom left.

When they are all glued together you’ll have a circle of loops (bottom middle) and then push the middle of each loop to the centre, giving the middle a little squeeze to make a heart.

Add a loop or string to hang the heart-flake from. Read more: Valentine’s Craft Ideas #BostikBloggers

Money Saving Jar Ideas For Children

This time of year there are lots of goals floating about and one of the ones you’ll often see on Pinterest is a money saving jar, where you save 1p on the 1st of January, 2p on the 2nd January and so on. I think this is a great idea, especially for children as they can clearly see how the savings are adding up. Of course you’re starting small so it doesn’t feel like much of a sacrfice initially, but as the year goes on, you head into summer months and later on towards Christmas, and having to drop £3 and more a day into the jar, it will quickly start adding up.

I know this wouldn’t work for me and the knowledge that I’d have to suddenly ‘find’ an extra £20-plus a week for the money jar is quite stressful for me, and I know I’d give up probably somewhere around the £2 a day mark. So I decided that we would try it, backwards.Money Jar Savings

That means that January, with it’s short, cold days, where we tend to stay in more and spend less anyway, is the hardest month for filling the jar. Filling your money jar backwards means that no day for the rest of the year will require quite as much money as today, or yesterday did. I find that quite positive and uplifting! My daily ‘sacrifice’ will get smaller, but my savings will be ever increasing.

Of course that means that by the end of February I’ve had to magic almost £200 to put into the jar, but actually, it’s the perfect time. There’s no rule that says you *have* to put money in every single day, but if you’re decluttering the house, getting ready for spring, cleaning out after Christmas and so on, you can take that money and put it in the jar in lump sums as you receive it, just keeping track. Obviously that’s not the real spirit of the jar, but does it really matter? Taking a £5 note and breaking it on some sweets you didn’t need so that you could put £3.39 in the jar isn’t really saving.

Holiday Treats Fund

Holiday Treat Jar

Since for me this is an exercise in saving for the children, I actually did take a £20 and exchange it for £1 coins. I’m hiding the coins so that we can put one in the holiday jar every day. Of course if this was for me, I’d just do transfers from my bank account so that I don’t have the temptation of physical cash, and so that I could be earning interest where I can, but again since this is for the children, I think the physical visual of a jar (two in our case) is useful.

Christmas Penny Jar

Christmas Penny Jar

That means that January, with it’s short, cold days, where we tend to stay in more and spend less anyway, is the hardest month for filling the jar. Filling your money jar backwards means that no day for the rest of the year will require quite as much money as today, or yesterday did.

Because I’m a sucker for punishment  it seemed practical for us, we actually have two jars on the go: a Christmas fund, counting down from £3.65 and a £1 jar for our holiday in June. This is our ice cream fund, according to the girls. By the time we go on holiday, we should have £130 in the jar. Lots of ice creams for 7 days! It’ll be nice to have a little bit of ‘frivolous’ money though.

For the big jar, where you’r supposed to have over £600 saved by the end of it, we’ve set a date of 15 December, at which point we’ll add the last two week’s worth of coins on one day – totalling £1.34. That was we still have 10 days left to buy Christmas presents and food. I can see this as a really good way of making big things not break the bank when they come round – though I’ll probably just use my bank accounts for non-child projects!
Whichever way you choose to do a penny jar, it’s a good way to save some pennies and get the kids “hands on” involved too. And if we achieve it, we’ll have a financial stress free Christmas and a lot of ice cream on holiday too!

What Your Child *Should* Know By The End Of Year 2

One of the things I struggle with as a home ed mom is balancing knowing what ‘level’ my children are at with deciding how much I actually ‘care’ about what level they are at. I tend to trust that they know what they’re doing, and that I’m exposing them to enough of life that they’ll learn and pick things up as we go along.

That said, in a climate where there are always threats of ‘registering’ or of outside influences wanting to have a say on how we raise and educate our children, and equally being uncertain how our family’s future – home ed and otherwise – is going to pan out, I do like to know that if she did have to go to school suddenly Ameli wouldn’t be massively behind other children in her age group.

I have no intention of turning our home education into a home school but there is something comforting in having an idea of how deep to look into things. I generally have no idea how much information to give Ameli when we’re looking at a specific topic, and I find this guide – slash – syllabus really useful for gauging at least the baseline of what she is capable of knowing at her age.

Click here to print the chart below: Year 2 Targets

English
Reading
Reads fluenty
Reading Comprehension
Listen to, discus and give opinions on stories, non-fiction text and poetry
Check: Does reading make sense?
Does reading make sense?
Retell traditional and fairy stories with details
Sequence the events in a story
Recite poems by heart
Writing and Spelling
Explore Graphemes: (written forms of sounds)
Explore Homophones: (words that sound the same but have different meanings)
Explore contracted words (they’re, we’ve etc)
Learn about possessive apostraphe
Learn about suffixes
Hand writing
Practice lower case letters (check for similar size and spacing between words)
Writing – Composition
Write a range of stories, non-fiction and poetry
Learn to plan what will be written first
Encourage the use of more detailed descriptions in writing
Writing – Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation
Learn to make compound words
Learn to use adverbs by adding -ly
Joining sentences together with words like if, when, because etc
Change tenses
Punctuation
Maths
Number – Number and place value
Learn to count in jumps of 2,3, 5, and 10
Learn to forwards and backwards
Understand that a two digit number is made up of tens and ones
Estimate where numbers might appear on a blank number line
Compare and order numbers up to 100. Use ><=
Identify odd and even numbers confidently
Read and write up to 100 in numerals and words
Number – addition and subtraction
Sole addition and subtraction problems using measure (length, capacity, weight, time), quantities (money) and numbers both mentally and with written calculations
Subtraction and addition up to 100
Using mental maths to add and subtract: two and one digit numbers
: two digit number and multiple of ten
: two two digit numbers
: add three single digits
Understand that addition can be carried out in any order, but not subtraction
Number – multiplication and division
2 times table
5 times table
10 times table
Number – fractions
Learn 1/3,1/4, 2/4, 3/4 of a shape, length or set, writing and solving calculations
Recognise equivalent fractions like 2/4 is the same as 1/2
Order fractions on a number line
Measurement
Learn to choose the correct units to estimate and measure mass, temperature, height or length
Learn to compare sizes using symbols > < and =
Tell time to the nearest 5 mins and make draw on a clock face
How many minutes are there in an hour, and hours in a day
Investigate combinations of coins or notes to make a given amount
Solve money problems including giving change
Geometry – Shape
Describe the number of sides and lines of symmetry for different 2D and 3D shapes
Sort 2D and 3D shapes depending on their properties
Investigate the faces of 3D shapes
Geometry – Position and Direction
Learn the link between angles and rotations such as right angle turns and three-quarter turns
Statistics
Record, organise and interpret information using tallies, pictograms, block graphs and tables
Science
Work Scientifically
Classifying living things, materials or objects and group them accordingly
Observe how things change over time and look for patterns, making simple measurements to gather and record data
Living things and their habitat
Learn about differences between living things, things that have died and things that have never been alive
Learn about a variety of plant and animal habitats, finding out how things are suited to their habitats
Learn about food chains
Animals, Including Humans
Recognise that animals and humans have babies
Understand the basic needs of animals and humans in order to grow strong and healthy
Learn about the importance of exercise
Learn about healthy eating
Learn about good hygiene
Plants
Investigate and describe how plants need light, water and temperature to be healthy
Observe how bulbs and seeds change over time
Uses of everyday materials
investigate how solids can change shape (i.e. melting)
Learn about developer of new materials and products they have helped to create
Art and Design
Digital Media
Record artistic inspirations using a digital camera and video recording
Use simple graphic packages to create images by changing line shape colour and texture
Printing
Investigate the effects of printing with a range of different materials such as potatoes, sponges or pine cones – anything that makes patterns
Experiment with rollers, printing palettes and printing blocks
Go on a pattern walk to investigate different patterns around you, take rubbings with wax crayons
Use different papers and fabrics to achieve different finishes
3D Sculpture
Use clay and other malleable materials to see how they can be joined together
Painting
See what effects different brush sizes create
Colour match objects
Learn about different paint types and the effects they can achieve
Know the primary and secondary colours
Look at textures when items such as sand, glue and glitter are added to paint
Textiles
Cut and shape different types of material with control and accuracy
Learn basic sewing (running stitch, over stitch, cross stitch, back stitch)
Investigate dying fabrics and weaving using twigs, pipe cleaners, ribbons etc
Collage
Create collages from magazines etc – use different textured effects like overlapping, tearing, crumpling etc
Drawing
Use pencils, charcoal, crayons, pastels, rubbers, felt tips, chalk to draw
Use darker or lighter shades to depict tone
Make observational drawings
Evaluation
Evaluate own and other’s work critically, looking for ways to improve
Computing
E-Safety
Learn how to keep safe online
Learn what personal information is and how to keep this information safe
Learn about being respectful online
How do we use technology in our lives?
Is everything we see on the internet true?
Data
Learn about fonts, colours and sizes used in presenting data
Gather data in different ways (use a microphone, take pictures, create a chart etc)
Explore branching databases
Programming
Introduce programming with floor robots
Use software such as Logo or Scratch for basic programming
Design and Technology
Design
Come up with ideas and create models or plans to explain ideas
Make
Select materials and ingredients, measure, mark out, cut and shape materials to make something new
Evaluate
Evaluate own and other’s work
Technical Knowledge
Explore how to stiffen, strengthen and make structures stable
Learn how to use sliders, levers, axles and wheels
Cooking and Nutrition
Work with food
Investigate what makes a healthy and balanced diet
Learn about where food comes from
Geography
Location Knowledge
Learn to name, locate the world’s seven continents and five oceans
Place Knowledge
Look at the difference between an area of the UK and an area of a non-EU country
Human and Physical Geography
Difference between natural and man-made features of the land
Study the physical features of a specific place both in terms of physical (natural) features and human features (villages, towns, houses etc)
Geographical Skills and Fieldwork
Use aerial photograph and mamps to locate physcial and human features using map symbols
Create maps, construct basic symbol keys
History
No specific targets
Music
Experiment with using voices to create effects, sing in tune and with expression
Learn how sounds can be organised, composing pieces with a beginning, middle and end
Represent sounds with symbols, create different moods with music
Physcial Education
Games
Take part in competitive games
Work on improving co-ordination and controlling bodies
Recognise the changes in the body before, during and after exercise and discuss these changes
Dance
Work on exploring, remembering, repeating and linking different movements for expressive dance
Compose and perform dance phrases
Learn about warming up and cooling down
Gymnastics
Lift, move and position gym equipment safely
Remember, repeat and link up combinations of gym actions
Athletics
Practice control and co-ordination with a range of equipment
Outdoor and Adventurous Activities
Follow routes, find different places in a set time

Pizza Express School Visits & Home Educators

Some time during last summer, we booked a home ed visit for one of the Pizza Express School Visit sessions, and though we had to wait several months for our session, we arrived on the agreed date and had a fantastic and informative visit.

Pizza Express School Visits offer groups the opportunity to not only see how pizza is made but also to get hands on and involved. For some children this is a brand new experience, of course, and for our group there was a mix of abilities too, considering our participants ranged from about 3 – 14 years.

Obviously the details may differ from visit to visit, but for ours on the Isle of Wight, the children were decked out in chefs hats and aprons, and given loads of flour to flour their work surface – a set of tables in the restaurant. Each child was given a ball of dough. The chef – whose name I sadly can’t remember – was amazing. He had such great rapport with the children, and was engaging and informative and did a fantastic job of managing such a range of ages.Pizza Express Visit

They spoke about the different steps they went through, the chef demonstrated, and the children were able to take their own dough ball, and knead it, twist it and shape it into circles – they even got to toss it up into the air. Read more: Pizza Express School Visits & Home Educators

60+ Activity Advent Calendar Ideas

This year we are making a big deal out of Advent. I am totally overcompensating for the fact that there are no cousins, no nieces and nephews, no aunts, no uncles and no grandparents around, and on as tight a budget as possible, I’m trying to make every day of Advent special in one way or another.

In order to do this we are starting each day with a toy advent calendar, a book advent calendar and an activity advent calendar. We try to marry up the book advent with the activity advent, so if the characters in the book make biscuits, we make biscuits. If they decorate their tree, we decorate ours, and so on. Sometimes the link is only a tenuous one, but a link none the less. It’s more about the togetherness than the actual activity really.

To make our activity calendar as fun as possible, I start by making a list of everything that’s happening around us. Friends are having a Christmas party? There’s a community candlelight walk? There’s a community carols by candlelight? The cathedral in town has a Christingle ceremony? Christmas market? Santa cruises? All these things go on my list and in the calendar. That way I can pre-buy tickets to make December a little less costly. I can also look through the Christmas books and see which stories would marry up with what’s happening in the area, then I number those books with the date of the activity – A ‘Jack Frost’ matinee show at the theatre on 10 December would mean I label the Jack Frost book Number 10.

It’s a fair bit of work and planning and it’s a good idea to have backups like craft activities in case weather, sickness or just not feeling like it change the plans.

Advent Calendar

  • Act out the nativity story with a nativity scene
  • Attend “Carols by Candlelight”
  • Attend a Christmas concert
  • Attend a Christmas parade (or watch on TV/YouTube)
  • Attend a Christmas market

Book Advent Calendar

  • Attend Christmas Eve Mass at a beautiful cathedral
  • Build a snowman together
  • Bundle up and go on a sleigh ride
  • Buy bargain events and activities on websites like Wowcher, Groupon, Living Social, and Little Bird
  • Buy easy and ready made craft kits – for example Lidl and various Pound shops have small Christmas craft kits, and Baker Ross too
  • Clean out your toy boxes and donate good quality items to a charity shop
  • Colour a Christmas picture or make a Christmas craft
  • Create Christmas messages and videos using Portable North Pole – one for the day you post a letter to Santa, one for a few days before Christmas, one for Christmas eve… loads to choose from
  • Cut or pick up a Christmas tree
  • Deck the halls with boughs of holly
  • Decorate a gingerbread house
  • Decorate a wreath together
  • Decorate the tree
  • Donate tinned food to a food bank
  • Dress up for dinner one night
  • Drive around to look at the Christmas lights
  • Fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child or similar shoe box appeal
  • Go ice skating

1551680_10153618842930234_69793837_n

  • Go sledding
  • Go to a Christingle church service
  • Go to a tree-lighting ceremony
  • Hang some mistletoe and give out kisses
  • Have a candle lit bubble bath and pretend it’s snow!
  • Have a Christmas party
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Have hot chocolate with candy canes
  • Invite a few friends over for a cookie decorating party
  • Make (or draw inside) thank you cards that are ready to be filled out after Christmas
  • Make a magic elf door
  • Make a snow scene with fake snow and ice crystals
  • Make a family bed by the Christmas tree
  • Make a handmade Christmas ornament for someone else in the family
  • Make a paper garland to hang on the tree, over a door, or in the kids bedroom
  • Make a photo album of your year and look through it together
  • Make a silly Christmas message to send out on Christmas day
  • Make Christmas cookies
  • Make Christmas trees out of ice cream cones, green frosting, and sprinkles
  • Make eggnog
  • Make gingerbread cookies

1533425_10153599480885234_4411161_n

  • Make glitter snow globes out of baby food jars
  • Make hot apple cider
  • Make paper crowns and talk about the wise men and the gifts they brought Jesus
  • Make paper snowflakes to hang from the ceiling
  • Make play dough snowmen
  • Make sand angels
  • Make snow angel biscuits
  • Make sugar crystals on a stick
  • Make thumbprint snowmen
  • Make reindeer food
  • Participate in a local toy drive
  • Read the Christmas story in the Bible
  • Roast chestnuts
  • Roast marshmallows inside over a flame
  • Subscribe to Weekend Box (Code for free box: Luschka690) or Toucan Box (Code for free box: A1014) for the winter months. First box is free if you use those links and codes
  • Visit a local farm or donkey sanctuary and talk about Mary and Joseph in the stable
  • Visit Santa for photos
  • Visit NORAD to track Santa
  • Visit a Santa Grotto
  • Watch the Nutcracker Ballet
  • Write (or colour on) Christmas cards
  • Write letters to Santa

 

Make A Winter Mobile

We’re participating in the Bostik Bloggers campaign for a few months, which means every month a box of crafty goodies arrives in the post and my children’s faces light up because they know what’s coming! This month the theme was ‘snow’, and in our box of tricks we received something that among the other Bostik Bloggers we didn’t know what to do with! It turns out that it’s actually a Hama Bead Mobile Ring but since we don’t have Hama Beads, we decided to make a different mobile out of it, featuring all sorts of wintery bits.

Make a winter mobile

For this mobile we used:

To start with, prepare all the parts – paint the stars and snowflake with the glitter paint and thread the ribbon through the holes on the mobile ring. You can determine your own pattern, but ideally stick with the one you start with. (So e.g. through the hole, to the left, across, or through the hole, across and through the hole on the opposite left etc)  This creates a nice woven look, but also gives an area for things to hang from the centre of the mobile from.

Snowflake Mobile

Around the outside of the mobile ring, attach the sticky squares and attach Christmas- themed embellishments to each sticky pad. The pads work well here with a flat surface to attach to on each side. They peel easily too, so though a little tedious going all the way round, it works without hassle.

Select bias binding in different shades and tie to the woven ribbon on the ring, spreading it out so that they appear to hang randomly. I used three lengths, but feel free to add more.

Finally attach a giant snowflake to the centre, quite high up, and do the same for the stars.

Snowflake Mobile

I didn’t find the glue foam pads to work too well on the stars. Either my glitter paint was still a bit wet or there just was’t enough flat surface space, but the Bostik glue dabbed on then left till it was properly dry did the job.

Attach a string or more of the ribbon to the centre and sides of the ring to give the mobile something to hang off  and hang the mobile somewhere that the light can catch the glitter – if it refracts the kids can pretend to catch falling snow! ;)