Create Little Explorers With Little Passports Subscription Boxes

Ameli never stood a chance, really. She was born to a mother with itchy feet, and by her second birthday she had been to 20 countries. That’s more than many people see in a life time! Unfortunately our circumstances changed and our travelling slowed down somewhat, but I like to think the impact of all those travels have landed and she will always be a little world traveller.

When we were offered a 3-month subscription to Little Passports I was really excited, because I knew she’d love it.

Our first parcel arrived, and we set off on our Little Passports adventure. Little Passports Subscription Boxes

Being six, Ameli receives the World Edition for 6 – 10 year olds. The first parcel contains the blue and green cardboard suitcase, a ‘passport’ and a wall-sized world map. It also includes a welcome letter from Sam & Sofia (which I’ve managed to convince Ameli are real people!) and stickers to decorate the case, (later boxes include stickers for ‘passport stamps’ for the passport) a photo of the two friends and an activity sheet. There’s also a boarding pass with an access code for online games in the Boarding Zone.Read more: Create Little Explorers With Little Passports Subscription Boxes

Children and Technology: The Right Click – Internet Safety Matters

I made a parenting decision recently that I really didn’t think I’d ever make. Or at least not till my kids were, like, 35 or something! I gave my 6 year old a mobile phone.

I gave her ‘her own’ phone because while most families have grandparents and aunts and uncles that can pop round for tea from time to time, my children have none of that. Sure they have families, but no one comes round for tea at the drop of a hat because we’re separated at the minimum by a 12 hour flight. But that’s no reason the kids shouldn’t be able to have daily, at the drop of a hat, contact with their family.

So, I made the decision to give them my phone when I upgraded recently, but it wasn’t a decision I made lightly because young they may be, but within days they were downloading apps and recording things – the six year old even joined Flipagram and I was scrambling for an account so that I could keep an eye on her!

I have to be honest and say that no, I don’t really believe that my six year old is entitled to any privacy where her online life is concerned, and though she asks repeatedly, she isn’t allowed a Facebook account or her own YouTube channel yet. These are limits I have set. Her phone also only works on wifi, so there’s no need for her to take it out of the house. Another limit I have set.

And that’s the main lesson I’ve learned in giving my child freedom to own and be part of technology: That I can and must set limits.

Not long after I was grappling with how exactly to protect my child online, I was invited to find out more about The Right Click campaign with BT.

The Right Click Campaign

We went off to the BT Tower in London – what a treat that was! We even received a certificate to say that we’ve been to the rotating restaurant up at the top! – to find out more about the campaign, and I’d encourage all parents to visit The Right Click:Internet Safety Matters and find out more.londonRead more: Children and Technology: The Right Click – Internet Safety Matters

5 Ways to Celebrate Science With Kids

I think when we look back on our lives, some day far off in the future, we’re going to realise that one of the biggest things that changed during this generation was the perception of girls/women in the workplace, and specifically, in careers like medicine, science, mathematics, engineering. While my personal interest in those subjects is … lacking… it’s something that I’m incredibly grateful for. I love knowing that if they choose it, it’s an option that’s even more available to my daughters than it was to me.

What? You’re not ancient! 

No, I’m not. But I struggled so much with math in the last two years of school and I know beyond a doubt that it wasn’t a problem with me, but with my teacher. I passed every mock test, knew all the answers at my private math tutor, but sat down in front of an exam, and I’d make myself sick. Honestly, I ground my teeth so badly, I developed abscesses and missed one of my final exams!

And the teacher in question? I remember distinctly a comment about how maths just wasn’t really for girls.

Was I going to be a chemical engineer, a doctor (my younger brother is both those things – proud big sister that I am!) before that comment? No, probably not. Actually, definitely not. But did failing miserably at math affect my chances of university entrance? Yes, it did. I passed entrance with age exemption, eventually. Did it affect my confidence? Certainly did. Do I think I can ‘do math’? No. Till I actually do it, then I’m not so bad.

So, I think that looking back on my life, I think the changed attitude to women in science will be one of the most wonderful changes of this generation.

And it’s with that in mind that I love things like British Science Week.Read more: 5 Ways to Celebrate Science With Kids

Mother’s Day Activities From Twinkl

We’ve been spending some of this week indoors, getting our Mother’s Day crafting going on – it’s a bit early, but if you have things to post it’s useful to get it done in advance! A really useful resource for easy mother’s day activities is Twinkl, an educational resource for schools and parents, and particularly useful for home educating – or homeschooling – families.

mothers day activities

Read more: Mother’s Day Activities From Twinkl

Fairy Story Sticks

I am not much of an artist. I’m pretty much a stick figure kind of girl, but about a year ago I bought a book called How to Draw 101 Fairies* – which gives you a step by step picture guide for drawing 101 different fairies. Now, if you did a side by side comparison of their fairies and mine, there are vast differences, and all my fairies would be claiming disability because they have heinously deformed hands and feet, and faces in some cases, but never mind… the fairies haven’t noticed, and neither have the children.Story Sticks

Anyway, I bought this book about a year ago so that I could learn to draw fairies, and when I saw that it was National Tell A Fairytale Day on Friday, I thought it was a great opportunity to pull out the book and get practising. Having drawn a bunch of fairies, my girls saw them and loved them, so I thought story sticks would be a fun idea.Read more: Fairy Story Sticks

How Big Is The Earth?

My dad sent me these pictures in an email, and I have no idea where they originally hail from, since they seem to have various sources on the web – if you do, let me know and I’ll credit appropriately. I showed them to Ameli(6) however, and they sparked such interest, I thought I’d share them with you here too. It’s wonderful to put the size of the Earth into perspective. How Big Is the Earth

It’s sometimes hard to know what level to pitch topics at, and using pictures is great because it allows children to ask questions, setting the level themselves. I love how these pictures have been set up. The first set of planets are Earth, Venus, Mars, Mercury and Pluto. It makes Earth look big, important, powerful, and so different from it’s closest neighbours.Read more: How Big Is The Earth?

NEW! Andy’s Amazing Adventures Magazine Review

If your little one is a fan of Andy’s Wild Adventure on CBeebies, Immediate Media have a treat in store for them: The new Andy’s Amazing Adventures Magazine which launches today.

What they tell us about Andy’s Amazing Adventures Magazine:

Andy's Amazing AdventuresThis magazine is aimed at 3 – 6 year olds, and the magazine is based on the extremely popular CBeebies shows Andy’s Wild Adventures, Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures and the forthcoming Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures and will cover all of Andy’s adventures.

In each issue, Andy will be their trustworthy guide as they explore the world and even travel through time, meeting creatures, facing dangers and solving problems along the way. It is packed with puzzles, stickers, colouring, stories and comes with a great free gift with every issue.

The magazine is based on the 7 key areas of learning that support early years development so it’s full of fun things while also supporting the readers’ learning.

What did we think of Andy’s Amazing Adventures Magazine?

We’ve received the first edition in advance of today’s launch, and the first thing I noted about the contents were that they are spot on for their target. My 6 year old finds all the puzzles and activities easy, but not boring and my 3 year old finds them challenging enough to do together, so I think it’s perfectly targeted.Read more: NEW! Andy’s Amazing Adventures Magazine Review

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