children


Kids in the kitchen. My top tips for baking with boys! 19

I say boys, but really these tips are great for baking with any child.  My children have been helping me in the kitchen from when they could sit in a high chair.  I tried to involve them from a young age, even if it was just giving them some pastry to play with.  I wanted them to feel comfortable in the kitchen and be involved in preparing their food. Baking is a great exercise for children, it involves lots of different skills such as reading recipes, measuring and weighing ingredients, following instructions, motor skills (mixing), measuring time and also is a great way to connect them with the food that they more »


As easy as 1, 2, 3 … how to teach your kids about money (and why)

Today’s world is a scary one where finances are concerned. As parents, you don’t need a news report to tell you that the cost of living is increasing or that energy prices have risen once again. The bills on your counter have already told you. The latest reports from the world of news tell us that two in five would have to borrow to pay off an unexpected £200 bill due to poor savings figures and it’s hardly surprising given the state of things at present. The problem is that money management isn’t a strong point for everyone and some of us simply lack the knowledge to know what to do more »


Number games for Children

Both my boys love numbers and math. We have been working with Maxi and the school to show his workings out, as he has always said that he just sees the answers to math questions in his head. As he gets older points are often given for using the correct method and for showing the workings in exams.

One of the ways we do this is by playing games. I recently picked up a great little bingo set at the charity shop, which both the boys love top play. They use it for making up their own number games. They add the numbers, add up the lines when they score to work out who is the winner and just generally have fun with the numbers and the counters. When I was growing up I loved bingo too, I used to tag along with my cousins when they visited and go to the arcades to play bingo. Nowadays they play online at sites such as GoldenBingo.co.uk.

There are lots of other number games you can play with children including:

Domino’s – great for number recognition, counting and strategy
Cards – you can play lots of card games with children, from basic snap, which is great for number recognition to something more difficult such as two’s and eights. Cards are so portable and are great to have in your handbag.
Dice – a pair of dice is great to carry in your bag. You can use them for very basic sums by getting your child to throw the dice and add, subtract, divide or times the two numbers.
Monoploly is great for introducing children to the concept of money and they often do not realise they are using maths skills whilst playing.
Battleships is a fantastic game for introducing children to co-ordinates. Perfect for playing before they have to use graphs.
Skittles or ten pin bowling. You can make your own skittles from bottles and give them numbers. This can help number recognition and addition skills for scoring.
What are your favorite games to play that reinforce maths skills?


TV, computer games, internet, mobiles: are kids being exposed to too much technology? 9

There are also growing concerns over the type of content that children now have access to, with violent video games and inappropriate websites just a few clicks away, and the softening of television and film age ratings. Horror stories in the news have only heightened these concerns in recent years, leading some to believe that children should have their access to technology limited to just a few hours a day, giving them more time to spend outdoors or interacting with other children.

Whilst these concerns are all valid, it is important not to lose sight of the innate value of technology to today’s youth. The recent Olympic games are a prime example of the benefit of television to children, with 90% of the entire UK population having tuned in to watch at least 15 minutes of live coverage over its two week duration. The ability for children to find out more about and interact with positive role models such as the Olympic summer heroes is made possible by access to technology.

It has also been suggested that technology has revolutionised the way in which children learn, giving them access to innovative educational resources by way of newly developed apps, or by making revision fun with programs such as the BBC’s GCSE Bitesize series. The benefits of technology can also be seen in the development of children with educational difficulties, with websites and other resources available to help children with conditions from mild dyslexia to extreme autism.

Overall, the question of whether children are being exposed to too much technology remains extremely difficult to answer in a general sense. With parents able to limit the time spent in front of the television and monitor or restrict online activity, it is arguable that technology has become an invaluable educational and developmental resource for our young, allowing them to witness global events and take part in new experiences from their own homes.

Feel strongly about this topic or have an experience to share? Then please leave your comments below.


Gardening with Thinly Spread 5

Chris at Thinly Spread and Kate at Kate takes 5 have teamed up to produce an idiots guide to gardening with children. Even though we have raised beds, I usually leave the gardening to MadDad and the boys, but this year these ladies have inspired me to take charge and join in.

The week before last me and the boys planted tomatoes, sunflowers, peas and beans and put them in a tiny plastic greenhouse that I purchased from Aldi.


Everything is so easy if you are 4 year old 9

Maxi was born in Reading, so he has chosen Reading football team as his and was super excited this weekend by the fact that they were still in the FA cup, but also really upset to find out that he couldn’t watch them on TV (as they were not being shown playing), so we listened to the match on the radio. When Manchester City sored the goal, Maxi got pretty upset.  So MadDad tried to explain the ranking system and said that Manchester City were in a higher league and were possibly the richest football club in England at the moment and this is the conversation that sprung from there.   more »


Encouraging boy’s to write 16

My boys are like chalk and cheese, as I have said before.  Maxi was writing by age three, whereas, Mini really doesn’t enjoy mark making or writing.  He is a perfectionist and gets upset that it doesn’t look like he thinks it is supposed to, this isn’t helping in mu opinion with the school teaching cursive handwriting from Reception. Up to now this hasn’t been an issue for him, but it is really starting to get him down and also to hold him back.  Why you ask?  Well he knows all his letters and sounds and is a great phonic reader, but he is so reticent about writing that the school more »


Helping children deal with the death of a loved one 35

Losing a loved one at any time is hard for a child to understand and  process, but losing a Grandma on Christmas Day to a very sudden death is particularly difficult.  My children are the most important people in my life and helping them deal with the death of a loved one is so important. Apart from Mr Smudge, our cat dying,  the boys only experience of Death has been the devastating loss of my Nieces little boy L, who died at six months old.  We have always been honest with the boys and they understood that my Dad (Grandpa B) was dead and being  a farmer’s grandsons they understand life more »