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There’s a Spider on the Floor – Fun with Rhyme

 

My 2 year old is just beginning to get the hang of rhyme and we often have fun at the dinner table making up rhymes for words. This morning at breakfast the girls found a plastic spider and I remembered a song that I used to sing with the children at nursery.

There’s a spider on the floor, on the floor
There’s a spider on the floor, on the floor
There’s a spider on the floor and it wasn’t there before
There’s a spider on the floor on the floor.

The children then choose where the spider should go next.  My 7 year old chose her head and rhymed it with bed.  This was a bit advanced for my 2 year old but she enjoyed choosing parts of the body – it was a great fun activity,  that they could both join in with at their own level and engaged them for about 10 minutes.  They liked it when I made up funny verses e.g. There’s a spider on my knee please don’t fall in my cup of tea.

Fun like this reminds me of the reasons I like to sit with the kids at mealtimes.

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Turning 40 – What have I achieved in the past decade?

It’s my last week in my 30’s so I’m doing a lot of reflecting on the past 10 years.  I don’t really feel like I have done a great deal in that time but when you sit down and think about it there is quite a lot that I can be proud of.  Here are some of my greatest achievements in that time:

1. I Got Married 

Not much of an achievement I hear you say, perhaps not for some.  I remember saying to my mum when in my late 20’s that I didn’t think I would ever get married because I didn’t think I would find someone who would love me enough.  She told me not to be stupid and as always she was right.  When my husband proposed to me on the eve of my 30th birthday, I was overwhelmed that he loved me enough to want to spend the rest of his life with me.  I think that’s a great achievement and that we are still married after 9 years isn’t bad in the scale of things either.  Marriage isn’t all moonlight and roses and I’m not the best wife in the world.  Keeping it together is a huge challenge when you throw in the demands of young children, stressful jobs, working away and running a business, not to mention how much we change as individuals.  I don’t know if we will make it through the next decade, it will be my greatest achievement in life if we do.

2. Had 3 Wonderful Children

There was a time when we thought we would only ever have one child.  We tried for years to have a 2nd but suffered 2 miscarriages and felt it was our fate to only have one. My eldest is the most amazing child, clever, confident, beautiful, well behaved and sociable, you couldn’t ask for more in a child.  We still used to feel sad when she was playing on her own and hoped that one day she would have a brother or sister.  Now she has 2 sisters. My 2 year old can be hard work but is also clever like her sister, has a wonderful loving nature and frequently makes us laugh and the baby is a beautiful, happy, easy baby who smiles at everyone she meets.  I am proud to be raising 3 such lovely girls and I’m sure they will make me even more proud as they grow up.

3. Got a Masters Degree

My husband always makes me think outside the box and when I was unhappy at work he helped me to see that I had the power to change things and to go back and study.  I loved studying for my Masters and I found that I was surprisingly good at it.  I’m so glad that I did it.

4. Played Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’

I have been involved in musical theatre since I was a child and it was such a buzz to play Maria at Cardiff’s New Theatre, playing to full houses of 1000+ every night.  It was tinged with some sadness as it happened just after mum had died and I knew it would have made her so proud. 

Getting to do any theatre since having children has been an achievement in itself but I have done fairly well by appearing in a few musicals, playing Jane Eyre , a cocktail waitress in Shakers and appearing in my first opera.

5. Finding 2 Jobs that I Loved and in Which I Could Make a Difference.

In my early 30’s I worked with families of pre-school children who were on the autistic spectrum.  This was such an amazing job, I learned so much and met so many wonderful children and parents.  Watching the children progress and the families become more able to cope, I feel that I really did make a difference and that is so satisfying .

Between my first and my second child I worked for the local authority as an early years consultant.  Again I met some inspirational people, loved coming up with solutions to problems, learning about and sharing good practice and watching Continue reading Turning 40 – What have I achieved in the past decade?

Nominations open for MAD Blog Awards

MADs2011MADNominateNowBadge[1]   

I’m new to blogging and so far it has been a liberating experience.  In the few months since this blogs creation the readership has grown and I have been really fortunate in being part of Netmum’s  Blogging Network.  One thing that is odd about blogging is that although you can see how many people are reading your blog, unless readers share comments, you have no idea whether people actually like what they read .  I have had loads of positive feedback from friends and family both verbally and via Facebook and it always lifts my day when I get a comment on my blog – but what does everyone else think?

Then along came the MADS  – awards to celebrate the best in mums and dads blogs.  There are 15 categories for nominations  and the 5 blogs in each category with the most nominations will become finalists.  I would love to see that people enjoy my writing enough to nominate me for one of the categories.  As I am new to this game of course Best New Blogger would be the perfect category as would Best Pre-School Fun.  I would love to think people see me as a good writer by a nomination for Best Writer or Best Blogpost.

So if you have enjoyed reading my blog, or I have touched you in some way I would really appreciate it if you would take the time to nominate me for any of the above categories (you can nominate in more than one category). Click on the Nominate me button on the sidebar and it will take you directly to the MAD nominations page. The competition will be great as there are many blogs with a huge following , so I feel a bit like a small fish in a big pond,  even so it would be lovely to receive even a few nominations .

Breast Milk Ice cream

 

This made me chuckle.  I was just reading a news item on Netmums about an ice-cream parlour in Convent garden who are selling Breast Milk flavour ice cream.  They have paid £15 to mums for donating milk and they’re charging £14 an ice cream.

My middle daughter loved ice cream when she was a baby and this would have been heaven for her.  However at £14 a go – maybe not …. maybe I could have made my own.

Who on earth would buy this ? Even out of curiosity at £14 an ice cream I’m not really sure. Good marketing ploy, but not sure it would go down too well in our little village shop.

Sir Ken Robinson animation

 

I first came across Sir Ken Robinson when a colleague used his TED talk to illustrate the importance of creativity and critical thinking in the Early Years Foundation Stage.  This animation brilliantly outlines his arguments for a new type of schooling that moves away from academic achievement and looks towards those skills that will be most useful in the 21st century.

www.sirkenrobinson.com

Educational Toys and Books

I have fond memories of my young childhood, in particular of spending time playing and reading with my mum.    One of our favourite shared activities was spending hours with a set of ‘three four five basic learning books’.  These were song and rhyme books with accompanying records (we called them paper records because they were thin and floppy).  We used to play the records, read the books and sing along, play the games or learn the actions together.

book 001

The books were designed to encourage learning through play at home and each book has a forward that outlines how to use the songs and rhymes and the benefits that doing so will bring.  The forwards discuss the importance of rhyme and song are in preparing children to learn to read .The text is uncluttered ,each book containing around 10 songs, 1 on each page and the illustrations are simple but eye-catching. The impression  created by the author Iris Grender, a mother and nursery teacher, is that the main focus of the books is to promote the foundations of literacy through play and not to make bold claims about promoting intelligence.

This is a far cry from so called educational toys today, most of which are electronic , expensive and limited in what they do.  The key difference however is that toys, books and cd’s today do not encourage interaction between parent and child but are perceived as a magic formula to make a child intelligent.  In my experience children quickly tire of such things once they have mastered what they can do and move on to the next thing.

My children (aged 6 and 2) now have the above set of books and love them.  I can still remember the tunes to the songs even without the records (as we no longer have anything to play them on).  As always it is the inexpensive simple things that stand the test of time.