Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A Very Cold Trip to the Beach

Burntisland Beach

On a freezing cold Sunday morning we wrapped up warm (though not warm enough!) and walked to the beach near Nana and Grandad's house. 

The air was crisp and cold on our faces and Little was tired but would not sleep; Poppet was motivated by promises of a troll bridge to go under, seashells to collect, and hot chocolate for afterwards. We cannot enter into these agreements lightly but thankfully were able to deliver on all three counts on this occasion.

Poppet exploring the puddles
The tide was way out so we explored the wet sand, Poppet was mesmerised by the ripples in the sand and the little trickles of water that formed little streams snaking their way back to the sea.

All wrapped up but with incorrect footwear
We filled up a bag with only the very best seashells we could find - daddy was the best sea shell spotter. Poppet didn't like picking the shells up from the wet sand, but she did like spotting them. We found cockles, mussels, razors and some of those curly type shells (also a seagull skull but decided not to take that home). Most of the shells still had their hinges so Poppet liked playing with them and when we got home Dandad showed her how they moved in the sea.

Poppet and Mama writing names in the sand
 Unfortunately Poppet's shoe got stuck in the sand so she got a wet foot and bum and that called time on our shell collecting.  Just before we left we wrote Poppet's name in the sand. We were very cold so ended the walk with a visit to our favourite cafe for a well-deserved cooked breakfast (and hot chocolate!).  
                                                               Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
Learning for Life

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Valentine's Sensory Tub

Sensory tubs are a great play tool and very inviting to children to explore - they are also free as they are created from bits and bobs you already have around the home! My two can't start playing with them quick enough - picking up whatever grabs their attention first, guessing as to what an object's use is, discovering the different textures, experimenting....they offer so many opportunities for learning through play. Often all of the objects are already familiar to them but seeing them in this new context makes them much more interesting.

I made a quick Valentine's sensory tub using objects from around the house that had a heart connection - we used heart shaped silicone moulds, heart biscuit cutters, a toy stethoscope, a little heart shaped pillow, pink felt hearts, a heart sponge, a heart rubber, heart shaped sequins and beads, candles in the shape of champagne bottles, a heart shaped trinket box, pink tissue paper, and dried pasta (if I was more organised I could have dyed this red but this was just a quickly put together tub).

Poppet was quite careful and methodical about exploring the tub (actually it wasn't a tub we used this time - it was a low sided crate that originally held musical instruments), filling up the little moulds with items from the tub and noticing all the heart shapes in the different objects. Little was a bit more destructive - she just went wild with it excitedly flinging bits everywhere and eating the pasta. She needs a bit more training with sensory tubs to learn to try to keep the contents inside the tub! In the meantime I'll only use larger fillers like pasta twirls rather than things like rice and lentils to make the clean up a bit easier.

Despite all the lovely little hearts on offer, the dried pasta seemed to hold the most appeal.

Surprisingly Little was the one who picked up the stethoscope, and as soon as she put it on Poppet immediately 'didn't feel well' and lay down so that she could be tended to by Dr. Little.

The next day I picked out the felt and sequin hearts and pink tissue paper and let the girls use them to make Valentine's cards with  (Little needed a lot of help with the glue!). Poppet insisted the card she made was for her sister which was very sweet!

Poppet: 3yrs
Little: 16mos

Friday, 7 February 2014

Button Hearts

The other day I discovered the girls had excitedly found my button collection (I don't know why I collect buttons as I don't remember ever sewing one on). Buttons were strewn all over the floor - miraculously none had been eaten (that I know of) - and Poppet was very keen to keep playing with this new found discovery.

So being as it is Valentine's Day shortly we thought we would attempt to make some heart shaped thingymabobs to hang around and spread the love.

 I drew a heart on a piece of foam and a bit of card and gave them to Poppet along with some buttons and a wee jar of glue. She carefully glued the buttons onto the outline of the heart, which we then left overnight to dry and the next day I cut round the buttons and threaded a ribbon through the heart for hanging. I thought they looked quite pretty!

Poppet: 3yrs
Little: 16mos

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Uncle Mike and his Cardboard Box Skills

Poppet, Little and Monkey in the car

Uncle Mike has previously demonstrated his prowess with a cardboard box, having pimped their cardboard box car with some duct tape, and adding a door and a steering wheel. Hours of fun!

His next feat was a cardboard box playhouse. We have lots of cardboard boxes just now as our new kitchen is being fitted (!). I was clearly floundering attempting to make a house out of them so Uncle Mike took a break from his kitchen fitting to do some playhouse building.

The girls were beyond excited with their house (as I think Poppet's facial expression clearly captures). Little spends her time going in, and out, and in again - she loves the door. Poppet asked "Tan you put a toilet in it?" which I laughed at at the time but later realised her request was a serious one when she had a wee accident in the house. Ooops!

Poppet going to sleep in her house

Poppet: 3 yrs
Little: 16 mos

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Heart Printing

As part of operation wean-Poppet-from-TV (alternatively titled I-can't-watch-Cinderella-again) I brought out the paint to do some Valentine themed printing using things I had around the house. Poppet was delighted to do some painting, as was Little who joined in and DIDN'T TRY TO EAT THE PAINT! This was a momentous occasion indeed. Maybe she learnt her lesson from the last time she took a mouthful of paint, maybe she just wasn't hungry that afternoon, who knows.

I had a heart shaped metal biscuit cutter, a toilet roll tube I bent into a heart shape, a sponge heart and a rubber in the shape of a heart (this was rubbish). They both happily made heart prints onto their sheets of paper, Little even managed a few recognisable heart prints until she got both her hands in and just went with hand smearing instead.

They did sheet after sheet, and eventually Poppet just decided to rub red paint over entire sheets of paper - some kind of snub against the commercialisation of Valentine's Day perhaps?! I also managed to make a wee Valentines card for J (unique declaration of love and also saved myself £2.50).

Poppet: 3yrs
Little: 16 mos

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Goukstane, Bennachie

On Saturday we went for a family walk at Bennachie, a range of hills nearby to us. It is ranked the no. 1 activity to do in Aberdeen and is right on our doorstop - we are very lucky to have such an amazing landscape and lovely walks so accessible to us.  We have barely scratched the surface of them - there is a whole network of paths to explore and so far we have only tried a couple.

We started off doing the easiest walk which is the Discovery Trail aimed at children and wheelchair users; it has lovely little rubbing posts along the way for children to make rubbings but I had forgotten our paper and crayons which was a bit annoying.

Strong-willed and fearless, Little refused to go into the pushchair we had brought along for her, and walked for ages, completely surprising us! She is a really fast little walker and very determined. She doesn't want us to hold her hand and won't stop still for a photo for us. She looks so precarious walking; her little feet turn in and she looks like she might stumble any moment but she doesn't.

She walked even longer than Poppet managed to! Poppet flaked first, requesting to go into the pushchair. 

Poppet admitting defeat
Along the way I searched for nearby geocaches using the app on my phone. We hadn't been geocaching yet this year but are really looking forward to finding lots more in 2014. It is really great for extending a walk, making you spend more time enjoying the outdoors together as a family, and making it a little bit exciting (I am always so excited when we eventually find the geocache and open it!). We chose one near to us (there were loads!), and followed the compass, taking us off the Discovery trail.

I had brought along a little picnic for a mid-morning snack so we stopped at a bit where there were lots of tree stumps from tree felling and found a nice big one. Poppet insisted on having a 'chair and a table' on her stump. We had Babybels, bananas, a chocolate santa and some unidentified chocolates along with some juice.

Our picnic

My sister is a teacher and as such receives lots of gifts at the end of the term from grateful pupils; a lot of these gifts are wine and chocolates neither of which she is that keen on so she passes them on to me. The unidentified chocolates were one of these gifts. Poppet seemed really keen on them. She called them 'snowballs' and was very reluctant to share, swap or relinquish hold of the bag. Even for the chocolate santa. It was only later when we tried one that we realised that they were 'boozy' chocolates. Oooops.

Enjoying our picnic

After the picnic Poppet had some energy and went back to walking. I was in charge of the compass and we went the wrong way. A few times. We nearly gave up but eventually Dada and Poppet went off-road on their own to find the Goukstane while I pushed Little in the buggy on the main path to get her to sleep. And success! The teamwork of father and daughter found it and called us over.

Goukstane is Scots for 'Cuckoo stone' and it's a large boulder which according to legend is visited by the first cuckoo to return to Bennachie after spending the winter in Africa (this info was all available on my Geocaching App., so that's another big advantage of geocaching, you learn about your local area too!). Our geocache was hidden near it, cleverly tucked away in the roots of a tree under some large pieces of bark. Poppet had the honour of retrieving it. Little was on her way to the land of nod after all of her walking!

We filled in our name and the date in the log book and Poppet chose a treasure. I tried to influence her to choose a lovely looking realistic plastic caterpillar but she would have none of it and went with a little pink pen with some sparkle. She loves it.

Near the Goukstane there was a wall with words carved into the stones and one stone made to look like an egg with a crack through it. Poppet spotted it straight away -'an egg!', but it wasn't until I read the description of the cache again on my phone that I realised she was right.

The wall reads 'The Calling of the Gouk Is the Other Side of Spring

Poppet spotted an 'A' in one of the stones - "Look it's my A!" which made her very pleased.

Poppet's A
We finished off the Discovery Trail with Poppet on Dada's shoulders and Little fast asleep in the buggy.

Poppet: 3yrs
Little: 16 mos