Monday, 13 April 2015

BRENDAN'S ARTY PHOTOGRAPHY

Kids need to get bored.... good things come from boredom. Brendan finds it particularly hard not to have something stimulating him. He has always been the same and I believe it is part of his Autism. I do try very hard to try and teach him that he does not need to be doing all the time and that it is good to just "relax and be" sometimes. 
I am fighting a bit of a battle though when we live in a world of tv, tech and on tap stimulation. 
I am slowly making progress though. He reads more and spends more time outside (although only if I am out with him too) and I am seeing him slowly developing the ability to find his own entertainment.
Sometimes it is climbing a tree or making up a game but today it was photography!

Here are a selection of some of his Arty shots!






Thursday, 9 April 2015

WADDESDON MANOR - COLOURSCAPE

Making the most of the sun this week and feeling very calm and at home in the outdoors! So much so that we opted for walking up to the manor rather than catching the shuttle bus from the car park. The last uphill bit with a very basic stroller nearly killed me (or at least reminded me to get the puncture on the Phil and Teds fixed)!


Just look at that stunning countryside! I wanted to find a little wooded area and set up home. Imagine waking up to that every morning! And what AWESOME trees!


When we finally got up the hill we were greeted by the fairy castle (Waddesdon Manor) and the bluebells carpeting the lawn!


Our main reason for visiting was to explore the Colourscape domes That had been set up for the past couple of weeks. The que was very long and took about an hour and a half to get to the front so we made ourselves comfortable and had a picnic. We had to relocate every now and then as the que moved but everyone was in good spirits and the weather was glorious!


After lunch little "M" had a nap in the buggy and the older children ran over to the rocks to play. They found some school friends who were waiting a bit further up the que and all got together for a game of chase and hide and seek.


Another example of the risk assessing of dangers for themselves. Yes my heart was in my mouth at times, but the top of the rocks is actually the level of the ground as it goes up the hill and they were all being super careful when navigating the rocks. They really can assess and manage their own risks if I let them.


Finally it was our turn....... We could hear the music playing inside. The center dome is where the musicians are. The sounds bounce around the domes, and mixed with the colours that are created from the sun shining through the fabric, making the whole experience totally immersive and effects all your senses. For some reason the red ares made me feel rather drunk and I noticed that little "M" was initially reluctant to enter red areas.


Everyone wears coloured tunics to add to the experience.




It was rather warm inside but I loved how it made me feel (apart from the drunk feeling). The children were excitable and keen to explore one minute and then lay out, relaxing and listening to music the next. Brendan can sometimes find things rather over stimulating in sensory settings but this seemed to calm him.



By the end we had all chilled out a bit which was nice. 


We had a relaxed time listening to the man playing some really interesting percussion instruments.


It was such an amazing experience and well worth the long wait. Very reasonably priced. A rather Hippie experience and great for teaching little "M" her colours in a kinesthetic way!



Wednesday, 8 April 2015

AMPHIBIAN CLOSE UPS AND CRAFTS!

Amphibian Adventure day at the BBOWT nature reserve not far from us! We do love creatures and this time of year is fantastic for finding newts and frogs. We have some tadpoles in the nature pond at home and can not wait till they get a bit bigger so we can observe the changes!

The girls love a bit of crafting and got stuck right in to making a Lilly pad for their amphibian friends to sit on! 



They then moved on to the hopping frogs. Origami frogs which jump when you push down on their back end. Great folding practice which is something I have noticed a few need to work on. Lining up the edges and then folding the middle at the same time, without it all moving as they do it.


The center had set up some lovely activities to try out. They gave each on a try. This was making Dragonfly's out of pipe-cleaners and beads. "R" made one for little "M".



Brendan and Kenzie fancied looking at the Tadpoles more than the crafting. They were experimenting with different numbers of magnifying glasses to see if it made a difference to how magnified they could make the image. That's a great bit of self initiated learning right there!




The staff at the center went out early to see if they could find some Amphibians to pop in tanks for the day. The heat outside meant it was very hard to see any during the session. This little chap was very cute!


We used the books and wall posters to learn (re-cap) on the life cycle of a frog and the stages of Tadpole to Frog growth.


AMPHIBIAN ADVENTURES!

Learning about our Amphibian friends is so much fun. We had a great time "Feeding the frog" with bean bags. They were labeled "air, food, shelter and water". We took it in turns to see if we could get all the bean bags in to the frogs mouth and keep him alive. To be really truthful.... we didn't do very well!



We also gave "Frog hopping" a go.


Little "M" decided to make it harder for everyone!


"R" made a great frog with really feet together jumps!


We then moved on to some identification activities. Each station focused on a part of a frog/ toads body and we had to guess which of the two examples given in each station was a frog and which was a toad! This picture shows the girls trying to work out what the frog and toads skin might feel like.



The last activity was learning about different markings on a newt. We learnt that the markings can help us to identify what type of newt we have found. Kenzie and "E" matched up the 2 examples on the back of our map, with the right newt pictures attached to the trees. He counted the spots to narrow down the choices and then looked at the pattern of then spots until he located the right newts.



Nature....... creatures..... learning...... AWESOME!!


POND DIPPING, PADDLING AND BATTLE SHIPS!

Spring seems to have got a bit lost and Summer has visited early. What amazing weather we have had the past 2 days! In true "Worm's Eye View" style we decided to spend as much of the day in nature and visited the local BBOWT outdoor education center. They had an amphibian day organised and after enjoying a picnic and some of the crafting, we spent the rest of the day exploring and playing in trees and near the lakes. 


I love this picture. Kenzie ran over to check on little "R" after she screamed. She had seen a Bee and was worried it might sting her. Kenzie reassured her that Bees will only sting as a last resort and that she didn't need to feel afraid.

I decided to get a start on my tan while rocking little "E" off to sleep in the buggy.


Kenzie appointed himself navigator and took charge of the map. It opened up lots of dialog about directions and recognisable landmarks that we could use as a point of reference. I also showed him how to turn the map around so that the paths and landmarks were in the correct location for the direction we were stood in. This made it much easier for him to choose the right direction to walk.


Brendan and Kenzie made boats. These started with small sticks and leaves for sails. But very quickly we had a full game of battle ships going on with small log sized boats being launched!



Little "M" made sure she had a good splash on the lake edge before having her nap.



Give children boundaries and a couple of clear rules and for the most part they can assess their own risks and take some responsibility for their own safety. I did not hover over any of the children and only had to support the toddler in her exploration. She has not yet learnt from experience or exploring as she is too young. Having said that though, I did hold her hand while she stepped in to the edge of the water. The mud was slippy and I used simple words to let her know. "slippy mud" "Careful" and the like, which she repeated back to me. She continued to hold my hand and push the boundaries until one foot lost grip and she slipped. She was safe the whole time because I was holding her hand, but she learnt through experience and backed off a bit after that.


We had a good look for Frog spawn and Tadpoles around the edges of the ponds.

   
Everyone was suitably worn out and content after such a lovely time by the lake and ponds! Nature and fresh air equals happy and chilled people!



Tuesday, 7 April 2015

GOLF WORKSHOP!

Back at the play center this week and the boys joined in with the Golf workshop. A professional golfer came and set up some fun golfing activities for the children to try and gave them all a lesson in how to hold the club and how to hit the ball. Thankfully he only gave them soft balls to hit or there may have been some broken windows. Brendan did a good job at aiming for the building and hit Joe's office window several times! What he lacks in aim..... he certainly makes up for in force and distance!



Kenzie was reluctant but I "encouraged" him to have a go and I am glad I did. He is often nervous of trying new things and although he found it frustrating and tricky to start with, he did quite well after a few try's!


The instructor set up a little race with 2 teams. Both teams won a game  each which helped to keep things civil!


Time to aim at a big target and see what score they could achieve! Brendan soon had to reduce the force of his swing with this game so that he could get the balls to actually land on the target! Kenzie did very well at this game.



Then the next target practice game with smaller targets to aim for.


Another AWESOME workshop organised by the wonderful Thomley! We are so lucky to have this center on our doorstep and thankful every day for the fun and freedom they have given my children and family. 













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