Loo Roll Balloon Rocket

Rocket Bingo are hosting a competition where you have to make a Loo Roll Rocket to be in with a chance to win an iPod 7th Generation. Now loo rolls are something that I have a lot of in our junk modeling box otherwise known as the recycling bin and as it isn't bin day till next week, we thought we would spend the afternoon making our own loo roll rocket.  But my boys do love to challenge me and they insisted that our rocket actually move! Don't worry your rockets don't have to work the competition, in fact you can find out all the details of the competition here

How to make a loo roll rocket that flies 

  making a loo roll rocket that works What you need
  • Loo Rolls
  • Washi tape
  • Wool
  • Straws
  • Balloon
What to do I asked the boys how they wanted to decorate their rockets and they decided that washi tape was the way forward, so I got out my stash and we had some fun decorating the loo rolls.  You could decorate your loo rolls in any way you wanted, paint, stickers, glitter or pens, the tape was a great as it encouraged the boys manual dexterity as they tried to keep the tape lined up on the rolls and an added bonus for me was that it wasn't messy. We then taped a straw inside each of the rockets and threaded some twine through it.  We tied the twine to two chairs and then blew up the baloon before taping it to the loo roll. We then let go of the balloon and wow the rocket moved on its own!  IT WORKS! Don't just take my word for it, take a look at our video below How to Enter

The competition closes at 23.59 on the 31st of August (see the site for full details).  But entry is easy, all you need to do is make a loo roll rocket, share it off on Facebook, and read the small print for the full terms and conditions.

So why not make the most of the rest of the summer holidays and get crafting with the kids and make your own loo roll rocket.  If you do enter I would love to see it so do come back and share a link to it in the comments. 

Good luck and have fun!

Full details here on Rocket Bingo’s site, competition is not hosted by The Mad House, the promoter is Rocket Bingo and this is a featured post on their behalf.

Looking for more summer fun inspiration then do come and join me over at Mum in the Mad House Facebook page 
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Encouraging learning at home

I have blogged previously that we are not big fans of homework here in the mad house, however, I am aware that it is going to become a necessary evil for my boys in the years to come and we have made the decision that from this year (year 5, aged 9/10) we are going to encourage Maxi to learn at home and do any allocated homework. 10 ways to encourage learning There have been a number of reasons for this decision, including the fact that a couple of their friends are starting senior school and they will have over an hour homework each evening and also that other friends although not local are receiving tutoring for their 11+  using tutors such as Fleet Tutors.  In fact MadDad tutored Math's GCSE and A'Level when we first met.  Tutoring isn't always about just improving grades, but about raising confidence and giving children the encouragement they need. We feel that the time has come to start the preparation for future learning.  We want to keep this encouragement as simple as possible and in fact make homework and learning fun and not a chore. We have been encouraging learning at home though play and reading throughout the boys lives at home, so the transition to doing homework, doesn't scare me or the boys at all.

Tips for encouraging learning at home

  1. Fill your home with books.  Both the boys love facts and fact books.  We have and still are fostering a love of reading in our children.
  2. Encourage discussion and opinion.  I want my children to be free thinkers, to understand that having an opinion is fine and that they have to back up that opinion with reason and facts.
  3. Make it fun.  Both formal and informal learning is much easier when fun.  If a book they need to read does not stimulate them, find an alternative one that does or another way for them to glean the information.  This too applies if using a tutor,  make sure that your child finds them inspiring (has a connection) and enjoys learning with them and that it isn't a chore
  4. Make learning a participation sport.  I freely admit to my children that I do not know everything and that I too will have to learn somethings with them.  Spellings are a communal event, they test me (I am pants at spelling and I test them) usually during dinner or on the walk to school.
  5. Encourage learning through play from a young age.  Play matters and is key to everything your child is and will be.
  6. Use real world examples.  Do science at home, encourage children to cook and engage your child in real world learning, ask questions and make connections.
  7. Give them a place to do homework whilst supported by you.  We use the kitchen table and have everything the boys will need in a bureaux in the kitchen.  I can be preparing dinner whilst they are working and I make myself available to them as they need me.
  8. Celebrate achievements.  Make time to celebrate your children's learning achievements and set clear expectations of them.  My boys know that 100% effort is non negotiable regardless of the outcome. Offer positive reinforcement to inspire them to keep learning and being challenged.
  9. Show interest in what they are learning.  Do not make results and scores the focus of your questions.  Show a true interest in what they are studying.  Having your child put what they are learning into their own words will reinforce that learning.
  10. Set a good example by showing them that learning is pleasurable and is a lifelong process.  Additionally, parents who exude an overall positive attitude about their own responsibilities show children that while all people have tasks to complete, doing them with care and enthusiasm is far better than simply giving the minimum effort.

 THe Mad House

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Back to school lunchbox jokes

My boys love jokes and now as they are getting older their jokes are actually laugh out loud funny most of the time.  We have pulled together some of our favorite back to school jokes.  Perfect for popping in school bags  and into lunch boxes. 25 Back to school Jokes What kind of school do you go to if you’re an ice cream man? Sundae school. A boy returns home from his first day of school, and his mother asks, “What did you learn today?” “Not enough,” he  replies. “They said I have to go back tomorrow. Teacher: How can you make so many mistakes in just one day ? Pupil: I get up early ! Teacher: Andrew, where is your homework? Pupil I ate it. Teacher: Why?! Pupil: You said it was piece of cake! Why was the teacher wearing sunglasses to school? She had bright students!

Who the king of all school stationery? The ruler.

What food do math teachers eat? Square meals! Why didn't the sun go to college? Because it already had a million degrees! Why does it take pirates so long to learn the alphabet?
Because they spend years at C! Why did the student throw his watch out of the school window? He wanted to see time fly. Why were the early days of history called the dark ages?
Because there were so many knights! "Class, we will have only half a day of school this morning"  We will have the other half this afternoon. Why was the teacher cross-eyed?
She couldn't control her pupils! What happened to the plant in math class? It grew square roots. Which hand is it better to write with? Neither, you should use a pen! What do you do if a teacher rolls her eyes at you?
Pick them up and roll them back to her! What kind of school do you go to if you’r a surfer? Boarding school Why would a music teacher might need a ladder? The reach the high notes. Why is a math book always unhappy? Because it always has lots of problems What makes a Cyclops such an effective teacher? He has only one pupil. Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 9 What is a math teacher's favorite food? Pi! Pupil: Would you punish me for something I didn’t do?
Teacher: Of course not.
Pupil: Good, because I didn't do my homework. What is snake's favorite subject?
Hiss-tory! Why did the two 4's skip lunch? They already 8 What do librarians take with them when they go fishing? Bookworms! Teacher: Why did you eat your homework?
Pupil: Because I don’t have a dog. What's a teacher's favorite nation? Expla-nation. Why didn't the skeleton go to the school dance? He didn't have anyBODY to take. Who succeeded the first Emperor of Rome?
Pupil: The second one! Why aren't you doing very well in history?
Because the teacher keeps asking about things that happened before I was born!

Looking for more kids jokes

a joke a day  kids lunch box jokes I love these printable knock knock jokes from Happy Go Lucky. How about these fab free printable lunch bag jokes from Emily Beale Nurturestore has 24 Christmas jokes perfect for advent calenders. Kids Activities Blog has 35 Jokes to make kids laugh and Kids Animal Jokes Teach Mama has super silly lunchbox jokes Lunch jokes for kids from Blooming Homstead Play Activities has 20 funny jokes Kindergarten Basics has lunchbox notes and jokes Over 50 kid friendly lunch box jokes from Lasso the Moon More jokes for lunch boxes from The Taylor House Here are the MiniMads favorite joke books

THe Mad House
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First day of school photo ideas

How to you record your kids first day of school.  Since mine have been small I have taken a picture of them all decked out in their uniform with a list of their likes.  I love capturing all that first day excitement with my boys and it is a great way to see how much they have changed year on year.   So I have put together a great roundup of ways to record that first day at school. first day of school photo ideas We take a picture and then I picmonkey the boys likes on. Paging Fun Mum's does a great image with sidewalk chalk I love the idea of making my own chalkboard speech bubble to show their year in. Let's Lasso the Moon using a great small chalkboard. No chalk board then just use a notebook like Me and My Insanity Print off the date and their school year on a sheet of paper and do the same for the last day of the year too (I am never that organised withe the last day of the school year!) How about making a giant polaroid frame - this is so cool! I also love the idea of just taking a pic of those shoes all clean and unscuffed with their backpack and a sign. How cool would it be to buy a t-shirt for when they graduate and finally leave school and get a picture of them wearing it each year. Kids being camera shy, then take a photo of their first day outfit instead. I love how you can just share a little bit about them and what their want to be when they grow up too.  
THe Mad House
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#Mums4Tommys Twitter Party – Tuesday 26th August 2014, 1-2pm

CB-Twitter-Party-Post-Disclosure-June2014-TM Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to co-host a party about taking care of your baby’s skin as well as their clothes.  On Tuesday 26th August at 1pm BST, please join us for the #Mums4Tommys Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing how laundry detergent and fabric softener is an important choice for your baby, and giving you a chance to win prizes! #Mums4Tommys-Twitter-Party-8-26 With two boys who have sensitive skins and me who well seems to have issues with most things I put near or on my skin, I try and make sure that I stick to non bio and a good fabric conditioner.  Maxi suffered really badly from eczema until he turned four and we managed to control it by finding out what his triggers were Fabric detergent such as Persil Non Bio, together with Comfort Pure fabric softener can ensure that your clothes are clean, soft and fresh, at the same time as preventing irritation to baby’s skin. So I am delighted to be co-hosting the #Mums4Tommys Twitter Party on SoFabChats supporting Tommy’s baby charity. Join me and RSVP for the #Mums4Tommys Twitter Party on SoFabChats! DATE: Tuesday 26th August 2014 TIME:  1:00 - 2:00 pm BST PRIZES: 5 - £60 Asda Gift Cards EARLY BIRD PRIZE: 1 - £30 Asda Gift Card HOSTS: @Jessies_kitchen, @keepupjonesfamily@mum_themadhouse and@mymummyspennies PARTY LEAD: @JManMillerBug RULES: #Mums4Tommys Twitter Party Official Rules RSVP & PARTY GRID: #Mums4Tommys Twitter Party Page   How To Participate In A Twitter Party on SoFabChats!
  • TIP:  How to join a Twitter Party - sign in! Before party starts, click on the green “Sign In On Twitter” bar at the top of the page!
  • TIP: Who to follow at a Twitter Party? Follow the Party Team by clicking on the Twitter handle links on the RSVP page!
  • TIP: Want to win Twitter Party prizes? RSVP by clicking on RSVP button before you join the party, follow everyone on the Party Team, and tweet with the party hashtag during the party to be eligible!
  • TIP: How to win the Early Bird prize? Watch for chance to share a tweet when you RSVP for chance to win!
  • TIP: Special deals and brand coupons? Keep that option checked when you RSVP for the party!
  • TIP: New to Twitter parties? Watch your column and Party Team tweet columns - they are slower paced and easier to follow!
  • TIP: Where to find Twitter Parties? Check out the SoFabChats Twitter Party Calendar to find more fun parties to attend!
Find more helpful Twitter Party Tips on SoFabChats!  
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Teaching kids independance – First time at the pool alone

Both my boys have been going to the swimming pool since they were 4 weeks old.  Teaching the boys water confidence and eventually to swim was really important to me and today witnessed a first for me letting the boys going swimming on their own. Teaching kids independance - First time at the pool alone Now when I say on their own, what I really mean is that I sat and watched from the sidelines, well the cafe with Cass from Diary of a Frugal Family.  But the boys packed their own swimming kits, paid their entry, got themselves dressed and put their things into a locker. I was not too concerned about them in the water as they are both pretty competent swimmers and have had lessons. No it is the other aspects of letting them do this alone that had me quaking in my boots, leaving my boys to go this alone with the hope that they wouldn't fight with each other and then once they had to get out, to be trusted to actually have a shower and not just stand under the water, but wash themselves and their hair.  Get in to clean clothes, remember the pound from the locker and put everything in their bag. These boys of mine are only eight and nine and I did wonder if this was far too much to expect of them.  Was I being unrealistic in thinking that they were capable of doing this.  However, this is what they wanted to do, so I sat on my hands, squashed down my concerns, had faith in them and waited. Thankfully Cass was with me and knew how I was feeling as Master Frugal is the same age as the boys and she encouraged me to believe that letting them have this independence was a good things to do and what more it was in a safe and supervised environment. You know what she was right.  They managed, they even brought home everything that they took with them! What more Maxi even brushed his hair and Mini told me that he put his specs inside his shoe like I had taught him. We all came away feeling really proud today.  We all achieved something.  I am giving these boys roots, so that they can grow wings.  We are one more step to rising the men I want them to be. 3.
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Back to school link up 2014

Along with Cass from Diary of a Frugal Family I am hosting a back to school link up for the next three weeks. We would love for you to join in with us and link up any back to school posts you may have over the coming weeks. At the end of the series we will be sharing with you are favorite posts and also pinning them to our back to school and all things school pinterest boards. We have a great selection of posts over the coming weeks to help you in the build up to the first day of school. If you do join in we would love for you to grab our badge and if you are sharing your post on twitter, Google + or Facebook then use the #backtoschool hashtag do we can share it too. So do come and join us by sharing any posts you have about returning to school, preparing to school or back to school crafts.  
THe Mad House
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Decorating shoes with fabric pens. A perfect tween craft

I love crafting and art.  I would do something everyday of I got the chance.  This week we managed to grab a full day with Frugal Family and after spending the morning at the Skate Park we had a crafty afternoon decorating plain white pumps with fabric pens.  This is the perfect craft for tweens and teens. customising shoes Materials
  1. Fabric Pens - I have a set from Yellow Moon and also a Dylon Fabric Pens Pack of 5 (Fluorescent)
  2. Fabric Crayons - We use these Fabric Pastel Dye Sticks
  3. White pumps - the ones we used were £6 from Asda
  4. Sharpies - This set of 24 is great, but I also love neon ones too
  5. Bostic Fabric Glue
  6. Stick on gems
customising shoes There is so many different ways that you can decorate clothes and I love how it allows kids to express their individualism. I just provided the tools and lest the rest to the kids. You could use fabric pens, paints or fabric pastels like Maxi's below. rainbow pastel shoes You could also stick many more gems on or even lace and fabric.  Using fabric glue makes sure that the gems and fabric sticks on. Make sure you use sharpie or permanent markers on the rubber parts of the shoes. You can set the colours on the shoes by either ironing them for a minute or two using a hot iron or by tumble drying on hot for ten minutes. You can also finish off your shoes by adding ombre shoe laces.
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How to have THE BEST family days out

Family days out can be expensive, but they are also fun too and one thing I have learned is that experiences bring much more fun and many more memories than things.  So I try and make sure that our family days out are as well planned as possible and to make them as inexpensive as possible. How to have THE BEST family days out Planning Planning your day out can often bring the biggest savings.  Yes, sometimes you want to be spontaneous, but if you know where and when you want to go then taking 20 minutes to plan can save you a lot of money:
  1. Look for two for one vouchers online
  2. Convert your loyalty points.  At the moment you can double up or more your Nectar points for some great summer picks
  3. Check if there is a discount for booking tickets in advance online
  4. Is it worth buying an annual pass if you are going to be visiting more than one over the period of a year.
Food and Drink Food and drink can really add up on a day out.  By far the cheapest way of tackling this is to take your own. We  pack a picnic lunch and a flask and also take cold drinks with us too.   We also pop an extra flask in the car and a tin of sweet treats to prevent indulgent afternoon visits to cafes too! IMG_6253 If you are planning on eating on your day out look out for food offers and also many places off refillable drinks.  At around £6, I could certainly spend less taking drinks but someone would have to carry the drinks around all day. Do not be afraid to ask for tap water.  We do and also we often ask for two plates so we can share cake between the boys. Exit via the gift shop Many places now make you exit through the gift shop which can be a nightmare for families with small children. We have our own strategy to deal with this.  We let the boys buy one postcard each for their scrapbook on the way out. Other methods could be giving older children a set amount of money to spend or explaining that you have spent so much money on the day out that you do not have any spare. IMG_9612 Be Prepared Once you have gone to all that trouble and expense to pay and plan for a day out, you really want to make the most of it, so ensuring that you have waterproofs and sun cream is essential (as you never know what the british day might bring). Also make sure you have everything you could need.  Such as a change of clothes, swim costumes (for water play areas) and towels. Lots of places have lockers that you can leave things in or you can leave things in the car and go back for them when you need them. Do you have any tips for saving money on family days out?  I'd love to hear them. This post is in conjunction with Nectar Summer Picks 
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Recording our holiday memories – scrapbooking with kids

How do you record your holiday memories? My boys are very fortunate, blogging has brought us so many fabulous experiences as a family and I want to make sure that we are thankful for them and also record them so we can look back at our experiences and adventures. OUR HOLIDAY SCRAPBOOK One of the ways we do this is by scrapbooking.  Now this isn't the sort of fancy scrapbooking that some people do, it is more something that I do with the boys and let them take control of.  Last year Maxi scrapbooked our Florida adventure. The year before Mini recorded our adventures on memory stones. This year inspired by my friend Jennie Maizels, we had added some drawing and scketing to our scrapbook. recording our holiday memories There is something wonderful about see photo's in the flesh and we have been testing out HP's instant ink, which means that I don't have to worry about printing costs as I have an annual subscription for ink and knew how much it will cost. Scrapbooking is a great way to record your memories, but also to encourage the kids to keep up with their writing over the summer avoiding the dreading learning gap. Do you scrapbook with your kids?  If not then why not give it a go and enter the Center Parcs August challenge. ‘I’m a Center Parcs Family Blogger and visited Whinfell village with my family. If you want to enter to win a place as a wildcard winner just go to the challenge page to find out how 
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