I’m sure we’ve all been there – half way through handwriting something, our hand cramps up and we wonder when exactly we last had to write so much. A few weeks ago I searched all around the house for a pen! I call myself a writer and I don’t have a pen in the house! Finding this simply unacceptable, I popped to The Works while I was in town and bought a whole handful of pens which are now all safely nestled in the bottom of my handbag, waiting for their next use.
It did leave me thinking about writing though, and about how hard it is to get my kids holding a pen and paper. Ameli, for example, is quite happy to do worksheets, as long as she doesn’t have to write down any answers. Or at least not those that require long answers. I do feel, however, despite this amazing digital age and the fact that even infants know how to swipe a touchscreen, that handwriting is an essential life skill. Read more: Letter Writing For Handwriting Practice And Life-Long Memories
Did you know that 70% of people surveyed in a recent YouGov Poll 1 said they would love to know more about local wildflowers? But more and more – or is that less and less – people are losing the connection with nature, and with it their knowledge of things like flowers.
We’ve been working through the year 2 English curriculum recently, as a sort of a guide for things for Ameli to learn, her being very keen to learn it all. I have to admit that looking at the curriculum I’m shocked and mildly appalled at what 7-year-olds are expected to learn! But as long as Ameli enjoys it, we’ll keep going.
We’ve been reading Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – a short story that doesn’t take very long, but is filled with all the examples of things the kids are learning in Year 2. Graphemes, apostrophes, suffixes – well, if you have a child who’s been through this curriculum, you’ll know!*
This year we’ve once again participated in the Potatoes for Schools – Grow Your Own Potatoes project, whereby they send you potatoes and instructions, and you have to grow your own. As part of the project you’re supposed to keep an eye on your potatoes, soil them up from time to time, and generally follow their progress. We measured them intermittently, and made sure it was slug free and so on, but we did fail miserably at the seed potato – the one you’re supposed to plant in such a way that you can actually see the root system. I know we planted it in a jar, I just have no idea what became of the jar! We did, however, do the same with a pumpkin seed and a sunflower, and were able to watch their root systems stretch towards water. It was all very interesting. But back to the potatoes…
Another game review today as I’ve been really slack in getting these games online, even though we’ve been playing them for weeks! Today’s game is super for anyone who loves word building games – the game is Word Has It! by University Games, and it’s best suited to those who can actually read.
The idea of Word Has It is to build the longest word you can within the given time limit, the given starting letter and the given category. So to start, you choose a category card – say ‘something that grows’ – then you spin the spinner and get a letter – say “F” – then hit the timer and you have a few seconds to come up with a word, find the letters and stack them to create a word. The winner is the person who has the longest word in the given time.Read more: “Word Has It!” Game Review
I don’t know if it’s just because Ameli is of a particular STEM/STEAM age, or if it’s that there’s been a huge push in that direction lately, but involving girls in science, and kids in science generally, seems to be everywhere at the moment. We were recently sent a Wild Science Perfume Factory set to review and it’s been a huge hit here.
Ameli is quite science-keen anyway, with Project MC2 ranking high on her favourites list, so the Wild Science Perfume Factory is right up her street. You know how some toys are a the thing of the moment for five minutes, then they aren’t a thing at all five minutes later? This isn’t one of them. On the first go, Ameli spent over an hour mixing and matching – an hour’s a long time for something to hold her attention! Since then, she’s taken to applying her perfume daily and creating top ups from time to time too.
The kit includes a stand, a scoop, five vials, a perfume bottle, tweezers, stirring sticks, mixing pot, red liquid pigment, special base perfumes, sticky labels, Sodium Polyacrylate Crystals, a measuring cup, a graduated pump and cotton ball filters.
The base perfumes are Eucalyptus, Jasmine, Peppermint and Rose essential oils.
Happy Dr.Seuss Birthday! I know this makes me sound old, because I never asked this as a kid, but where’s this year going! I just packed away the Christmas decorations, and here we are into the 3rd month of the year already. The 3rd month does start with a bang though, with World Book Day and Dr Seuss birthday on the 2nd of March.
You know those days when you wake up in the morning and mentally go through your day, only to suddenly remember the birthday party you’re meant to be at in two hours, so you stumble bleary-eyed over to the gift cupboard and realise that you now only have gifts left for babies, blessingways and older kids, so you log in to your online banking really hoping your client has paid you, but alas, she hasn’t… so you have less than two hours to come up with a present. What do you do? I’ve mentioned before what I do – I go to Twinkl, so that’s precisely what I did today.
If you’ve been inspired by National Storytelling Week or you’re simply hoping to encourage your little storyteller to grow in the craft, there are a number of books on the market that offer just that. We recently bought My First Story Writing Book from Usborne books to work through during the week and we loved it so much, I wanted to share it with you.
We’re in the middle of National Storytelling week, so we’ve spent a fair bit of time this week doing just that. There are loads of different ways of bringing stories to life, and while something like painted pebbles might be beautiful, we’re not all quite so talented! There’s a list here of different ways to create story prompts, but one we’ve been doing this week – and you can download it or template for your own below – is story cubes.
Story cubes require a template, a printer and an on-the go imagination.