Take Learning Elsewhere

Summer holidays are fast approaching and some of your little people may even already be enjoying their firstimage of many weeks of school free days. You may be wondering what on earth you are going to do to fill the weeks up with a fun variety of activities, outings and home ideas? Lots of ideas on here and I will continue to post through out the summer in between a couple of get-aways for Master L, Daddy C and myself. We had to be organised this summer and get holidays booked up, but it certainly is sometimes worth waiting for last minute availability. Below are some stunning rental properties, all perfect for families, incredible facilities and all have late availability this summer. Fancy a last minute escape, explore somewhere new and let your little learners discover a new environment? Quick check them out before they get booked up! Certainly on our list for the future.

Staycation Options:

In and around The New Forest, Hampshire: http://www.theploughmanscottage.co.uk/ A stunning collection of cottages / larger houses. Completely family friendly and in beautiful locations. Check out all their sister properties, lots of options.

Further Afield:

Valle Lecrin, Andalucía, Spain: http://www.rusticblue.com/holiday_villas_in_spain/zl25.php Set in a dramatic, beautiful and rustic valley lies a stunning family villa. Plenty of space, privacy and places to visit. A total find!


An Artist’s Impression

This post has been in the running for a while and over the last few weeks I have been inspired yet further by imagefabulous ways children can embrace and engage with art and artists. When teaching in London, I thoroughly enjoyed a History of Art topic I taught to 6-7 year olds. With so many of the classic masterpieces available for children to view all over London, a wonderful visit to The National Gallery and all the children’s learning based around wonderful book collections, it still to this day one of my most favourite topics to teach. I’ve raved about the wonders of our galleries before and the vast amount of child and family orientated activities and workshops they provide. One of my little learners came to stay recently and aged 5 he was speaking in depth about his latest “super fun” visit to The National Gallery in London. My sister adores reading Heuve Tullet’s ‘Mix it Up’ and ‘Press Here’ to her 3 small boys and it is high up on her list of books for godchildren. Gus (aged 4) says “I like it because you press the dots and they get bigger,” whereas Albie (aged 3) says “the best bit is the tap, tap, tap bit with the grey spot.” These books explore art through colours, patterns, paint and a hugely interactive, hands on story. Whether it’s recreating the classic masterpieces, exploring artists through picture books or a wander around an art gallery, below I share my tips on encouraging little learners to appreciate art.image


Katie Meets Series, by James Mayhew: a superb collection of wonderful stories following a young girl Katie and her exploration of all the classic artists, such as Degas, Monet and Turner. Many books available and well worth adding these to your book shelves, especially after a visit to see these classic paintings for real. Available at all main bookshops or on Amazon. Approx £6.99image

Mix it Up! & Press Here, by Heuve Tullet: 2 incredible books taking art and colour to a different level for all ages. Available at all main bookshops or on Amazon. Approx £7.99

imageAnholts Artists collection, by Laurence Anholt: a wonderful collection of stories, bringing together the paintings of Monet, Picasso, Degas, van Gogh, Matisse and da Vinci through beautifully told stories. Available at all main bookshops or on Amazon. Approx £5.99

Gallery activities:

  • Choose a postcard in the shop first and challenge your child to find that painting in the gallery.
  • Each time you go, ask your child to choose a postcard of their favourite painting that day. Create a postcard book at home as a mini gallery.image
  • Recreate favourite paintings at home using paint, craft etc.
  • Take a notebook and see if your child wants to sketch or recreate a painting in their own way.
  • See if your child can guess the artist of a painting.
  • Look up favourite artists and find out all about them.

Other bits:

Art Snap & Art Box, by Brainbox: the brilliant Brainbox company have created 2 fabulous games with an Art theme. Fun activities and games created to have fun whilst learning all about famous artists and their masterpieces. Both available at stockists of Brainbox games and on Amazon. Art Snap approx £4.00, Art Box approx £9.99

Look out for artists open studios in your local area. Artists often have open days or weekends to come and explore their work. A great idea for all ages. This weekend Pullens Yards Studios, London are open for all. Details on their website www.pullensyards.co.uk





Discover the World

Master L and I have been out and about this week and it made me think about teaching children Geography concepts. Children should be proud of where they come from, where they live and their local environment. Master L has cousins, family and friends all over the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. Master L certainly knows some familiar places now, such as our local swimming pool, my parents house and our drive way. His little face lights up and his legs kick up and down with excitement when he knows where we are. From my teaching experience children love looking at maps and globes. Start young by pointing out road signs, local landmarks and familiar buildings. Below are some ideas and resources which will enhance your child’s geography learning. Enjoy exploring this weekend!

Globes: many options to buy from inflatable to light up versions. Fun to hang in playrooms or bedrooms. Make sure it is in a touchable location. Children will spend hours exploring countries and places. Maps book

Maps & Atlases: many options again and still so important to teach map skills just in case the all important ‘Sat Nav’ isn’t available! Fun to mark routes, add stickers or pins to visited places and point out counties, towns, villages, cities, countries, oceans etc. Paper maps as well as Google Maps are both fun to use. Create simple maps of your house, street or garden. Treasure maps are always a favourite, get creative a make a tea stained treasure map for hours of fun! As your children grow older introduce Ordnance Survey maps, keys, compasses and ask them to plot or follow journeys.

Directions: positional and directional language play a part in the curriculum starting as young as the Early Years. Play games hiding objects, give clues and ask children to put things ‘on top,’ above,’ ‘below,’ ‘next to,’ ‘opposite,’ ‘besides,’ or ‘behind.’ Introduce left and right through talking about directions when travelling in a car, bus or on bikes and scooters.Map game

Culture: discovering other countries opens up the door to explore cultures different to your own. Food, rituals, festivals, skin colour, clothes, houses, schooling, languages, flags etc can all be explored through looking at countries different to our own.



Our Favourite Map themed Resources:

  • Maps Activity Book (£8.99), Maps Poster Book (£12.99) and Maps (£16.00) by A.Mizielinska & D.Mizielinska. Available on Amazon or Waterstones online. 3 fabulously illustrated Map themed books.England game
  • Around the World Puzzle (£7.00 approx) and Around the World Matching Game (£10.99 approx) by Micah Player : the game is a follow up to the puzzle, take a tour of the world and world cultures. Both available on Amazon.
  • www.ngkids.co.uk : brilliant for information from around the world.
  • www.mapsonline.co.uk : lots of maps to buy including the solar system, animals of the world and our favourite ‘Glow in the Dark’ map!
  • Where are We? Learning Library Collection (£13.49) : an expensive App, but full of fun mapping activities. Available on the App Store. Map App
  • www.orchardtoys.com : lots of fun games and puzzles. We love their World Map Puzzle and Poster, Great Britain and Ireland Puzzle and Poster and their Giant Town Jigsaw.
  • Touring England board game (£12 approx): a retro 1930’s board game available on Amazon.
  • Risk (£16.99 approx): a classic game of global domination available from Amazon, Argos, WHSmiths and many other suppliers of board games.
  • Flags of the World card game (£9.99 approx) : a fun and educational card game all about flags of the world. Available on Amazon.
  • BrainBox- The World (£10 approx) : a fun and fast memory game all about countries of the world.