Showing posts with label Sept19. Show all posts

7 Activities To Help Develop Fine Motor Skills

23 September 2019

paint pots and paint brushes
Little J has just started a new year in school and whilst I think he has developed so much over the last 12 months socially I think physically he still has a lot of developing to do. I know children develop at different rates and it's only natural that we compare our children to their siblings or other children of a same age. When little J was younger he never reached his milestones on time, he was always months late. It was a worry at the time but with help and encouragement he did get there in the end and when he did there was huge feeling of relief. Developing his fine motor skills is something we are still working as he still struggles to hold a pen or pencil correctly. Here are 7 activities that we are using to help develop fine motor skills and they are perfect for those looking for home schooling ideas too.

a child painting
a child painting
Painting is fun but finger painting is better. Most kids love paint on their hands and painting with your fingers can help hand eye coordination and manual dexterity. Painting with your fingers encourages the child to move and guide their fingers in all ways to create a painting.

Colour Sorting 
If your child is struggling to hold a pen or spoon then you could create a nice activity using child friendly tweezers. Fill a bowl for of coloured pom poms and ask your child to use the tweezers to colour sort the pom poms in to piles. Tweezers help to develop tripod grip when holing then between the thumb and first two fingers. Once they have mastered tripod grip they can then use the tweezers to focus on pincer grip. If you don't have the child friendly tweezers then you can encourage the same movement squeezing pegs instead.

playing with playdough
playing with playdough
Playdough Bugs
Playdough is brilliant for little hands and helps to build up strength. Squeezing, stretching and rolling the playdough can help with fine motor skills. Using playdough cutters to create shapes can enhance play. Make playdough bugs such as worms which will encourage your child to roll or a ladybird were your child has to squeeze a playdough ball to create a body. If your child is confident using child friendly scissors then cutting playdough is also great for the muscles in the fingers.

Wash the Car
Children love water play and washing the car or something very similar is a great way to build up strength in the fingers, hand and arms too. Using a big sponge ask your child to dunk the sponge in to a bucket of water. Once the sponge is wet it will become heavier so they will need a tighter grip on the sponge. Get then to use lots of arm motion to wash the car and then to squeeze the water out of the sponge back in to the bucket, and repeat until finished.

Depending on the age of the child threading is a great way to get those fingers and hands moving. It takes a lot of concentration but can help enhance tripod and pincer grip. You can create your own threading activity my punching holes in to a piece of card using a hole punch. I would recommend using something strong like a lace to thread as string or wool can be too flimsy. You can also thread a lace through a trainer too.

Song Time
Action songs are a great way to get the fingers, hands and arms moving but are also lots of fun. You may already have some favourite action songs but a few of our favourites are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Wind My Bobbin Up and Tommy Thumb. This activity should be done daily for at least 10-15 minutes.

squishy toys
squishy toys

Squishy Time
Squishies are everywhere at the moment so you will probably have some somewhere in the house. Squishies are really good for helping develop fine motor skills. If you can get your child to squeeze a squishy or something similar for 10-15 minutes a day it will build strength in both the hand and arm too.

You can make the activities as fun as you like whilst still helping to develop those fine motor skills.

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Buyagift - The Perfect Present | Review

9 September 2019

Disclosure - We received a Buyagift experience in return for a feature on our blog. The idea for this post was my own as is all thoughts, opinions and photographs. This post contains affiliate links.

A wrapped present
We are those people that when it comes to birthdays or Christmas we never want anything. We really struggle to think of something and in the end we usually ask for a voucher. Over the past few years we have asked experiences vouchers such as Buyagift and for people like us it really is the perfect present. We have selected some of  our favourite experiences that we have enjoyed so far using Buyagift.

Drayton Manor Theme Park

Theme Parks
If you know us then you will know that we are quite the thrill seekers and are usually head to theme park at least once a month. This Summer we headed to Drayton Manor which was perfect for both big and little J.

As there is an 11 year age gap it can be tricky sometimes to find somewhere that is suitable for both their age ranges however Drayton Manor had something for everyone.

Drayton Manor Theme Park
Drayton Manor Theme Park
The park has lots of thrill rides suitable for big J including Shockwave and Maelstrom and little J loved Thomas Land which has lots of rides based around the popular character Thomas The Tank Engine.

The theme park also has a 15 acre zoo which was fun for all of us and a 4D cinema too.

Our voucher included two adults and two children with lunch to Drayton Manor Theme Park

Prezzo Restaurant

Dining Out
On a recent day out to Southport, John and I ended our day with a trip to Prezzo. Using our voucher was easy we just made a reservation online and we were sent a redemption code to hand to the waiter when we had finished.

On arrival we were handed the Buyagift set menu which has so much to choose from. John started with the Garlic Bread with Mozzarella and I had the Tomato Bruschetta.

For our mains we both went for Spaghetti Bolognese. I assumed as this was a Buyagift menu that the portion size may be smaller but it wasn't.

We both saved some room for desserts. I went for Honey Smash Cheesecake whilst John chose his favourite Tiramisu.

The voucher was for a Three Course Meal With Wine For Two at Prezzo

View from the Shard

Days Out
We like to go to London at least once a year to visit the London tourist attractions. One of our favourite attractions is viewing the London Skyline from The Shard.

View from the Shard
Once at the top of The Shard you can get a great view of St Pauls Cathedral, The River Thames, The London Eye and if you look closely you can also spot Wembley too.

There was no need to book beforehand for this experience and the voucher we used was View From the Shard - Two Adults and Two Children

Go Ape
I managed to keep my feet firmly on the ground for this experience however I did enjoy watching both John and big J making their way through the trees on Go Ape.

Go Ape is a tree top high ropes adventure that has you climbing across obstacles and rope ladders through the trees.

Go Ape
Once they had finished their course they used a zip wire to fly head back to the ground.

Go Ape
This experience was really fun for them both and we did enjoy watching them as they challenged themselves to reach the end. The experience we used was a Tree Top Adventure at Go Ape

These are just a few of our favourite experiences we have done so far but our list is huge and we still have so many more we want to do. There are so many experiences to choose from with Buyagift and if you are unsure on a what experience to choose you can always buy a Smartbox which gives you 1000's of experiences to choose from. If you don't like your chosen experience Buyagift offers free exchanges and once you pick your new experience you can have your voucher sent direct to your email.

For more experience ideas you can visit Buyagift

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5 Rainy Day Activities

4 September 2019

Disclosure - We were sent Chicago Town vouchers to sample their pizza. We have included Chicago Town in this post however the idea, thoughts, opinions and photos in this post are our own.

Boy staring out in to the rain
There is nothing worse than planning a nice day out and you wake up to find it's raining outside. Unfortunately living in the UK this is quite normal so I always make sure I have some rainy day activities planned as a back up plan.

Boy baking a cake

Little J loves baking so I always make sure I have some simple ingredients in the cupboards which we can turn in to cakes or biscuits. Baking doesn't have to be just about baking you can make it as fun or educational as you wish.

Use the opportunity to encourage some simple maths such as counting out the ingredients or reading the measuring jug.

Be adventurous. Maybe try and bake something you have never tried before especially if you have a fussy eater. This could be your way of introducing new foods.

Sort Out The Toy Box
This may not sound like a fun activity to do on a rainy day but honestly you will be surprised. I always include this activity on a rainy day and it keeps little J busy and entertained. Once I start pulling out all his toys to go through he usually finds things that he has totally forgotten about and will sit and play with them for hours.

boy playing a game
Playing games is fun no matter what the weather. We have so many games to choose from so I usually bring downstairs a handful of games that we haven't played in a while. You can make it fun by adding a score board to see who the ultimate board game winner is or whoever wins the first game gets to choose which game to play next and so on.

Little J also loves to play Top Trumps which is also a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

iPad or Tablet Time
I usually let little J have his iPad whenever he wants during day and whilst I don't restrict him to a set amount of screen time, he usually comes off after a short time anyway when he is ready to do something else. However on a rainy day he may ask for it a little bit longer as he can't go outside so I will usually let him have his own time on his iPad and then we will do something together on it.

We will play games on it together or he loves apps like Word Cookies where he needs a little bit of help spelling words. He also likes doing maths so we have an app that does basic sums that we play together.

pizza box and harry potter movie

PJ and Movie Day 
I can't speak for anyone else but it is not very often we have a PJ day in our house. There is usually always something we have to get dressed for. It is nice once in a while to let the kids stay in their PJ's and have a PJ and Movie Day.

Let the kids choose the snacks and the movies and enjoy a nice relaxing day on the sofa. The boys love it when we say we will have a movie night and will always choose pizza and popcorn.

Their favourite pizza is Chicago Town Cheesy or Tomato Stuffed Crust pizza and garlic bread. Little J has been a little more adventurous with his pizza toppings recently going for a pepperoni pizza rather than just a plain cheese. Again use this opportunity to let the kids choose what toppings they would like on their pizza or what snacks they would like to share. Children love being involved and you can even let them help prepare the snacks and drinks.

Do you have any favourite rainy day activities?

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What To Pack For A Day Out With The Kids

2 September 2019

Disclosure - This post features gifted products however the idea for this post, opinions and photographs are our own. 

a bag for of essentials for a day out
We are very lucky to go on so many days out with the kids throughout the year. I have become an expert when it comes to packing a bag of essentials that we may need over the course of the day. I thought I would share with you checklist on What To Pack For A Day Out With The Kids.

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