Tag Archives: children

Why Do Young Children Draw Belly Buttons?


My youngest daughter (age 4) has recently started to draw detailed pictures. Mostly they are people.  She always starts with the eyes, adds a nose and mouth and then draws the circle for a head. After adding hair, she draws a torso, arms, legs, hands and feet.  The finishing touch is always a belly button. I found this fascinating. I don’t remember my younger children doing this for any sustained period of time, if at all.

In the earliest stages of children’s drawings of people, there is no torso. At this stage they often draw a navel (or circle) between the legs to depict that there is a torso there.  I’m not so familiar with children drawing belly buttons onto a torso however.

drawing by 4 yr old of man with belly button

Clearly, children under the age of 5 do not generally draw clothes on their people.   Seeing a navel on her sister’s drawing, immediately led my 6-year old to the assumption that it was naked. As they talked through the drawing together, the picture became one of a daddy and his little girl in the shower and anatomically correct details were added.  These didn’t survive into later drawings when her sister was not present but the placement of the belly button continued.

There is a boy and a girl holding hands, the boy is a man and the girl is his child. They are naked because they were in the shower. ( The lines above are water from the shower)
There is a boy and a girl holding hands, the boy is a man and the girl is his child. They are naked because they were in the shower. ( The lines above are water from the shower)

My intrigue grew, when a friend with a child of a similar age shared her daughter’s drawing of the family.  There was the belly button again.

I  decided to ask an expert and consulted Ursula Kolbe author of Rapunzel’s Supermarket:All about Young Children and Their Art for help. She suggested that children are fascinated by belly buttons and the drawing of a simple round shape is often intensely satisfying.  Perhaps then, it is the circles that she finds fascinating.  The drawing sequence always begins with eyes made up of a circle within a circle. Kolbe also suggested that children often copy the ideas of other children but since my little one is yet to attend preschool and only has her sisters to influence her this is unlikely in her case.

4 yr old drawing people

Often what children include or don’t include in their drawings is determined by the sequence in which they draw. “If a child draws a torso and then legs they sometimes won’t go back up to include a navel even if they intended to do so” says Kolbe.  I watched my daughter’s sequence with interest; she always drew the whole person and then went back to draw the navel as a finishing touch.


child's drawing of people

Sorting through boxes, I came across some old photographs of me as a child. In amongst them was this.

childs drawing of people


I must have been 4 or 5 years old when I drew this man, complete with belly button.  What a magnificent and timely discovery to help solve my conundrum.

What Would I Do Without My Kids? The 2 Sides of the Coin.

As I lifted my 2-year-old out of her cot to embark on the school run and she nuzzled sleepily into my neck, I held her firmly and asked myself ‘what would I do without my kids?’

When she greets me with an enthusiastic ‘mummy’ or smiles at me and laughs at the things I do that nobody else deems funny.

When I share stories with my girls and the 2 little ones curl up, one under each arm.

When I watch my eldest growing up into a wonderful young lady with a mind of her own, a caring nature and an amazing bond with her dad.

When I’m having a rest and my 4-year-old says ‘I’ll close the door mummy so no-one disturbs you’.

When I say to my 2-year-old ‘it’s time for nap now’ and she replies ‘ok mummy’

Each time I watch them growing into bright, funny, confident, beautiful girls I am proud and thankful. At those times what would I do without them?

On the other hand

When I’m rushing to get out the door and my 2-year-old decides she must put on her shoes herself.

When orders are being barked from all directions at the breakfast table but I haven’t yet even managed my first cup of coffee.

When I’m struggling around the supermarket with my 4-year-old clinging to the side of the trolley, blocking up the aisles and my 2-year-old crying because she can’t have a chocolate bar.

When my 4-year-old wets herself for the 4th time that day .

When all hell breaks loose in the car because my 8-year-old wants to sing along to ‘Don’t Like Mondays’ but my 4-year-old wants to be the only one who is allowed to sing.

When the chaos of mess and noise is just too much….  I  ask myself again, ‘What would I do without my kids?’

  • I’d travel and write.
  • I’d go running with my husband and meet him for lunch
  • I’d have a social life after 6pm
  • I’d get involved in theatre again and be able to rehearse 3 times a week.
  • I’d never be seen in McDonalds drinking coffee with my jumper inside out and a friend who didn’t even notice.


What would I really do without my kids?

Some days I’d struggle to get out of bed or venture out of the house and I’d cry every time I saw a family enjoying themselves.

They’ve pulled me through the toughest times, giving me purpose, hope and unconditional love.

Without them life would be grey.

I’d never be without them.

blowing bubbles

Preserving British Culture #2 Traditional Games

Last week I featured as a guest writer on Netmums Blog with a post entitled Playground Games from our Childhood. In this I talk about sharing my childhood games with my girls, games that are in danger of being lost if they are not passed down.

Moving abroad has made me more aware of my heritage. It is a little clichéd that when one moves away from home there is a sudden urge to become patriotic. Yes, I fly union jack bunting, I bake Welsh cakes for the soccer team and feel the urge to re-learn Welsh folk songs but it is not because I need to make a statement, rather that I want my girls to understand what being British means. We love embracing a new culture but I think it would be sad if our own childhoods were completely alien to the girls.

If you’d like to help to preserve traditional games for this generation then I’d love you to join in the link below with any posts about your own childhood games, traditions you have shared with your children or thoughts about modern play.

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Paint Play – Colour Mixing

Included in our Baker Ross  parcel  was a box of acrylic paints. I use acrylics for my painting and find that one of the key components to painting is mixing the right colours.  I therefore thought it might be a good opportunity for the girls to experiment with colour mixing.

paintI provided them each with 2 pieces of tin foil, one had a blob of each of the acrylic colours on and the other was for mixing.   I avoided giving instructions about what to paint or even that they had to paint at all.  Often young children enjoy the process of mixing and don’t really want  to paint with the colours.  My 3 year old used up most of the colours mixing them into various shades.  I explained that acrylics dry quickly so once the colours are mixed they need to be used quickly for painting

My 7 year old on the other hand carefully mixed a variety of colours, trying out the different combinations.  I gave them a pot of water each to clean their brush and kitchen roll to mop up any excess water.

She proceeded to paint a picture.  Half way through she ran out of one of the colours that she had mixed and was unsure what to do next.  I explained that the new colour wouldn’t need to be exactly the same   as the good thing about acrylics is that you can layer one colour on top of the other.  She mixed another colour and came up with a pretty good match.

Finished Results


Mess Free Painting

Today we received a very welcome parcel from Baker Ross.  Right From the Start has joined their blogger network, they send us lots of goodies and we come up with our own creative projects for using them.  The theme of our first parcel is painting.

Lanyan Quoit
My most recent painting

We love painting. I paint when I find the time and find it very therapeutic.  The girls also love to paint, in thesummer we paint outside .The girls enjoy painting on canvases and I display them in our hallway.

large scale painting

Today we went for the mess free option by trying out Colour Me Chubby Water Soluble Markers.

These are perfect for small hands, dry really quickly and don’t make a mess.  Even better they are washable, do not stain clothes and don’t dry out if you leave the lid off (although I didn’t tell the children this). The markers are great for an early mark making tool on large pieces of paper, they are sturdy and the paint comes out easily.

painting spiral

My 3 year olds latest canvas

My 7 Year old decided to try them with the wooden sea stencils.  These are great for little hands as they have large, chunky handles, meaning that they are easy to hold in place with one hand whilst drawing around them with the other.

This non-messy option was good for the baby too.  We did our painting on the floor so that she could move more freely.  She loved playing with the lids, taking them on and off and enjoyed painting on the paper although it was sometimes difficult to get them upright enough to make a mark.  She decided as all babies do that it would be a good idea to see what the paints tasted like.  However, as they are fully washable and non-toxic I didn’t need to worry – a quick wipe removed the orange lipstick.putting on lid

I was really impressed with the results and when we have limited time and I can’t face the mess involved with painting this is a great alternative.



The Final Results


Love to Learn on CBeebies

I don’t generally recommend young children learn by watching television but I am human and like the rest of us appreciate a bit of respite from time to time.  Now that my 3 year old no longer naps during the day, after a busy  morning at playgroup an hour watching television helps her to relax.  I don’t agree with young children watching commercial channels so always put my trust in CBeebies.

The quality of the early learning programming is generally of a high standard and well researched, we particularly like Something Special and Driver Dan’s Storytrain (especially as we are on the lookout for the episodes featuring her big sister).

At the end of February CBeebies are launching a new cluster of programming entitled  Love to Learn. This will bring together a number of programmes, which are designed to give the younger members of the CBeebies audience an introduction to literacy and numeracy. Programmes will include the new shows, Numtums and The Lingo Show, alongside new episodes of established favourites Alphablocks and Abadas. These programmes will be scheduled together allowing children to have fun while they learn their letters and get to know their numbers.
The Numtums  are cuddly Numbats (rare marsupial, native to Western Australia) each with a number on their tummy. Combining a troop of animated Numtums, children, sing-along songs and a distinctive, mixed-media style, the programme introduces the basics of number recognition and then gently moves on to counting objects and identifying amounts in a variety of fun scenarios. The series is reminiscent of the animated snippets that were a key feature of my favourite children’s programme, Sesame Street. I’m sure these will keep the children engaged and make learning fun.
I’m really looking forward to The Lingo Show .  This began life a year ago as an online brand to introduce children to a variety of languages.  It is a long time since I visited the CBeebies website, so I wasn’t aware it existed but I was very excited to see that the languages featured include Welsh. Growing up in Wales I have a very basic knowledge  of the Welsh language, but my children were captivated.  My 7 year old even wrote down a list of words to remember ( we looked at the food section). The variety of languages featured include Polish, Somali and Punjabi and this could be a really useful resource for nursery workers to learn basic vocabulary when teaching children with an additional language. The TV series will continue to introduce children to words in different languages – specifically French, Spanish and Mandarin .
The episodes see host bug Lingo send Mandarin bug Wei, Spanish bug Queso and French bug Jargonaise off into the real world to choose everyday objects and props to include in their grand finale – The Big Bug Show. Each episode focuses on one language, introducing children to six key words, plus examples of everyday vocabulary like ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’. There are opportunities for children to develop both speaking and listening skills as they are encouraged to repeat words with the bugs, voiced by native speakers of the target language.  I’m  definitely    going to make time to  watch  this with the kids.

The new episodes of Alphablocks are in a slighter longer  format than in the past and will continue to use best-practice phonics teaching to help young children develop engagement and confidence with reading and making words.  For those unfamiliar with the series  Alphablocks are 26 living letters who fall out of the sky and discover that if they hold hands and make a word, it comes to life.

Abadas  aims  to help children to learn new vocabulary that corresponds to objects they come across in their everyday lives.
The new episodes feature the familiar fun faces of Hari the hippo, Ela the fox and Seren the bat (all with Welsh accents) who come to life when a pop-up book is opened. Once the book is opened, the Abadas’ world comes alive and it’s playtime for the three adventurers. Through these adventures the Abadas encourage the young audience to re-tell a story and be able to ask questions and tell others what they have learned.
The season of programming will also include repeats of the popular numbers series Numberjacks.

I hope that by scheduling these programmes together, children will become naturally inquisitive  about letters and numbers. The 5 minute programmes are perfect for young children’s attention spans and this short concentrated burst of literacy and numeracy programmes could serve as a great introduction to other hands on activities. Pre-school children do not need to learn to read, write and count but the programmes could introduce the concepts without any pressure. Take the lead from your child, if they are showing an interest you can develop it further.  The Grown Ups section of the CBeebies website has excellent articles about how to support your child’s early learning including phonics , numeracy, story telling and mark making and includes many additional activities. Over the next few weeks I will also be sharing literacy and numeracy ideas here. If there are any particular areas you would like inspiration for add a comment and I will follow it up.

The Love to Learn programmes will be on air from 27th February every weekday on CBeebies. The scheduling is 09:00 Numtums

09:05 Numberjacks

09:20 Alphablocks

09:25 Abadas .

The Lingo Show will air sometime during March.

The timings are perfectly placed just after the school run , before we go out and explore  numeracy and literacy in everyday situations.

AngelBerry Frozen Yoghurt Factory – Healthy Treats for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal

angelberry Frozen Yogurt CafeThere are times when I would like to take my kids somewhere fun to eat. Invariably we end up in an unhealthy fast food takeaway – and as for sweet treats, healthy options are few and far between.  So when we were invited to AngelBerry Frozen Yogurt Factory  for the launch of their new Bubblegum Campaign, I was keen to see whether a low-fat sweet treat would leave the children impressed .

Angel Berry Frozen Yoghurt Factory, located at Imperial Retail Park, Bristol is a new concept for this area.  The colourful, yet simple decor and uncluttered layout make it appealing for adults and children alike.

baby being fed by her sister
Try this one

We were greeted by  a cheerful and helpful assistant who showed us around the flavours and  gave us some taster pots to decide on our favourites.  This was particularly appealing to my one year old!

We were then given a larger tub and could choose as many flavours as we liked.  There are 10 different flavours at any one time and  new flavours are added regularly.frozen yoghurt pumps

At our visit they had just added Pistachio, Caramel. cake and the charity flavour Bubblegum.  During Half-Term week all proceeds from the sale of Bubblegum flavour will go to Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal.

wallace and gromit grand appeal

The Grand Appeal has raised over £18 million towards the first purpose-built children’s hospital in the UK and continues to support the hospital by funding pioneering medical care and equipment, arts, music and play programmes and accommodation for the sickest children and their families.

My children couldn’t decide on a favourite flavour ( I thought  chocolate was particularly delicious) but they liked blueberry and mango a lot. After choosing a few flavours there was even more fun – adding  toppings, and boy were there a lot of them, talk about children’s heaven.

sweets - gummy bears were popular
A small selection of the many toppings available
fruit toppings
And even healthy fruit.

I am a particular fan of offering children choice and the chance to try things for themselves.  This was the perfect opportunity for children to practice using the pumps, experiment with flavours and create something beautiful.frozen yoghurt

The frozen yoghurt is priced according to weight, I’d suggest giving children the smaller sized tub or they could get eyes bigger than their belly syndrome.

eye patch
It's more fun with hands

My 3 year old is interested in exploring food with her hands at the moment and this was no exception.

baby eating

I can certainly say that the yoghurt went down well with my girls and my 1 year old had a chance to practice her new word – ‘Finished’. They certainly didn’t notice that it was a healthy option and as a huge ice-cream fan myself this is a great low-fat alternative for me.

AngelBerry has only been open for one month but is proving very popular.  AngelBerry are continually coming up with new ideas for toppings and flavours and are open to customer suggestions. I think AngelBerry would be the perfect venue for a children’s party, maybe in conjunction with the local cinema or water park.

If you are in the Bristol area and fancy taking the children somewhere different for a Half-Term treat, AngelBerry is certainly worth a visit. Don’t be put off by the cold, you can always drink coffee while the children eat the yoghurt and smoothies and milkshakes are also available. I’ll certainly be coming back.

Hopefully they will expand soon and open more venues so that I don’t have to travel so far.

AngelBerry are offering Right From the Start readers a 20% discount. Click to download a coupon 

  • This is not a sponsored post and no payment of any kind was received for writing this review.
  • In exchange for writing this review my family and I were invited to attend a launch party at the venue