Make your own JUMBLE TUFT


These fun little creatures are very easy and cheap to make and great for playing with.  

Kids will love designing their own and then using them to act out stories.  Just by changing the colour, the kind of hat, or shape of face opens up opportunities to create lots different characters. 

Attaching a strip of Velcro to the back of the head or securing a magnet inside the head or hat opens up even more opportunities,  

Watch the video below (designed for children) for instructions. 

How to make a Jumble Tuft
Books featuring  the Jumble Tufts will be available soon here as paperbacks and on Amazon as eBooks.

   

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A Great Day out at Furzey Gardens. The New Forest 



Furzey Gardens are magical gardens set in 10 acres of beautiful woodland in the heart of the New Forest. It is a social enterprise offering opportunities for people with Learning disabilities. 

I took this video on my first visit with my daughter and two month old grandson. It was a perfect afternoon out. We wandered through the woodland paths with our buggy and then enjoyed a drink and snack sat in the beautiful gardens. 

It’s a magical place for children with lots of hidden bridges, tunnnels and rustic playhouses. We loved the tiny hidden fairy and insect doors and the witch! 

The 16th Century Cottage with its vegetable garden and bread oven is enchanting and it’s really interesting to see the thatching techniques and materials. 

We will definitely go again! 

Watch the video below: 

Video of our walk around Furzey Gardens

Fun shape Art and Maths activity

Young children are naturally creative and love drawing and painting and making things.

They will enjoy the activity shown in the video above and learn some new shape and size  vocabulary at the same time.,

Recognising shapes within objects  improves observational skills and is a good grounding for drawing and sketching. 

Although designed for preschool aged children this activity can be adapted to suit any age depending on the chosen object.

Pre Reading Activity 

This game helps children to learn and recognise initial sounds.

Make a dice. This one is made from a tissue box. 

Choose six objects which your child will recognise easily starting with different letters. 

Write the initial letters on the dice.  

Then let the child draw his/her own pictures on pieces of card .  Try to choose objects with short, 3 letter names. For example for the letter C there could be pictures of a cat and a car.  For m pictures of a man and a mat etc. 

The dice is thrown and the object of the game is to choose a card with an object that begins with that letter sound and to name the object. 

Competitive version:  the cards are placed on the floor or table and whoever gets the correct card first, keeps it. 

Non competitive version: make sufficient cards so each child can have a set.  When the dice is thrown each child chooses a card with the correct object from their set. 

This game can be used later for word recognition by writing the name of the object on the reverse side of the card. The cards are then placed on the floor with the word side showing instead of the picture. 

The folk who live on ‘Five a Day Hill’

English people will fully understand why I chose a location for these stories called, ‘FIVE A DAY HILL’ !  For others I need to explain that the UK government enjoys giving out ‘useful‘ (?)  information on nutrition. After a year or so it becomes redundant as they deliver new and often conflicting advice! A few years ago we were told that we should eat five portions of fruit and veg. every day. So, now you can see  why the fruit and veg. characters in these short stories live on Five a day Hill!! 

This story and the other four in the series were written during a series of story writing workshops for children. The idea behind these workshops was to help and encourage children to  make up and present their own stories. For that reason I used only resources, technology and techniques which I knew were available in most homes and that a six or seven year old was capable of manipulating. 

The storyline in Pedro Pear is kept simple. The illustrations are in ordinary pencil crayon and I used the app ‘Book Creator’ to publish as a narrated story and also as a PDF. I really do recommend this app. Children of six and seven with initial support will master it easily and I think having the app will motivate even the most reluctant writer to ‘have a go’!  

Click on the link here for the story:  NARRATED STORY OF PEDRO PEAR

Paint-Blob Art

Fun Art with Paint Blobs and Straw

All kids love blowing Blobs of paint or ink into shapes with a straw but this Programne takes the technique one step further. 

A great project for all ages. Tinies to adults. Just adapt to suit the age. 


Suggestions:

Animals : dogs, peacocks,, roosters, porcupine, 

People,

Monsters. 

Trees with blossom 

Spooky forests

A witch or witches cauldron. 

Night sky with shooting stars or galaxy. 

Visit our Channel for more Art and Craft, Fun Science and Learning activities for Under-Fives.

Click here to go to the Fun Jumbles Channel

Montepulciano for Families

The first time we visited Montepulciano was with our two daughters, then aged four and ten. It was a long time ago in the days of cars with no air-con or satnavs. We didn’t even have mobile phones or the Internet.   We have never actually stayed in Montepulciano preferring the less commercialised and quieter hilltop towns of Umbria near to Lago Trasimeno. But now, living  just a forty minute drive away in Castel Rigone, we love to visit the town just for an afternoon or for  a meal in the evening. 

Our daughters are now mothers themselves and recently we took our little granddaughter (then aged two) to Montepulciano for the first time.  


Although busy it’s usually easy to find car parking space on the roads or there is a good car park near to the Information Centre, above. Since everybody is always in need of toilets and a drink we always go to this bar before starting into the town. We have always found it to be a  very friendly bar with a good choice of cakes and sandwiches and normal prices. (Now that would be €1.20/€1.50 for a Cappucino and €1.10 for a basic cake in our regular bars. )


We prefer to arrive around 3 0’Clock or 4 O’Clock, late afternoon from June to October when the sun is  lower in the sky and the streets shaded. We have never tried pushing a pram or a pushchair but it is not a difficult place to navigate, the Main Street climbs gently uphill but, if you want to explore the side streets then there are lots of steps and cobbles to cope with.  It’s my experience that tiny children just love climbing steps and this was definitely the case with our Granddaughter last year. She found the little cobbled streets with their many steps and archways as compelling and addictive as swings and roundabouts would be at a fairground!!

Half way up the Main Street is the Torre di Pulcinella (newly painted) with a clown who strikes a bell on the hour and half hour. An obvious attraction!  Near to this is a bar so you can sit and have a drink while waiting for this very brief but magical moment to happen. 

Kids love animals and plants and so another attraction would be the Palazzo Bucelli in Via Gracciamo where they will find a selection of medieval plaques and some Etruscan urns carved with lots of creatures. 
For a two year old the underground Etruscan city with its maturing barrels of wine didn’t hold any attraction except for all the steps!  But older children of four upwards are usually entranced by these meandering caves and really enjoy tasting the cheeses and honey and bread and oil. 

We always played games with our kids when sightseeing. It kept them interested and motivated plus they learned a lot which was a bonus! The eldest loved to keep a Travel Journal. In it was stuck reminders of our days out like sugar packets and bills from bars and restaurants and postcards. She would record how long it took us to get there and what she liked and favourite buildings etc. We played I Spy kind of games and Montepulciano is good for this.  Try asking them to look for animal or plant carvings.  There are lots! 


Why not have a competition to see who can  find the next Water Tap or the next blocked n archway or window or the next Ape Van! 

Take chubby crayons and paper along. There are lots of interesting inscriptions and patterns on the walls and floor for rubbing,,

They can also be given puzzles dependent on age. 

For example, ‘What do they notice about the number of stones round a window or door?  Is there a common number pattern? Why?! Of course they will realise that the number of stones is always odd because each arch has a central stone at the top. 

Once you have meandered up to the top piazza they will want to go up this tower. 

Children cant try wines but they can try honey and salami and cheese and bread soaked in delicious oil! AND older ones will  definitely enjoy a trip down into the subterranean city which can be accessed here: 

Enjoy your visit to Montepulciano! 

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