Thursday, 21 April 2011

GEO CACHING!

We have a new hobby! It's fun and gets us all out doors and helps me loose weight too!

We went on our first Geo caching adventure with friends at the weekend. Geo caching is a global game of hide and seek. People leave a box of treasures somewhere and then take the GPS co-ordinates and upload the info to the main web page! We then log on and look for local treasures to go hunt. Using a GPS device and a hint left on the site you go out to the location and look for the loot!  Once you have found it you take what you want, leave some new treasures and write in the log book! Its great fun and a great way to explore new places!


On Sunday we went with our friends to a Cache local to them. This was a slightly different one in that it was based on a puzzle. We used the clues left to find our way to the village church and looked for a grave with the name "Oswald" on it. Once we found it we needed the year of birth and death. My friend made up a little sheet for the kids to fill in. Great writing and number practice for them!


Next we were led to another location where we found 4 more numbers. When we found them we added them all up and the answer (9) gave us the last number for the last set of co-ordinates we needed.


Off we went...... getting a little lost...... and finally coming to a beautiful bridge a tree lined path. Our Cache was hidden in a lime tree..... we had no idea what a Lime tree looked like.... but I knew what it didn't look like! So that was a start. And there it was.... hidden in the tree trunk.


The kids carried it up on to a huge fallen tree trunk and opened up the box. This was really exciting and they all picked a goody to take home. Our friend filled out the log book and we added some new treasures we had brought from home, to the box, ready for the next treasure hunters to find!

 

The whole thing was a good 3 mile walk and the excitement of looking for clues and finding treasure kept everyone going! I found a local village which is quiet and stunning which I had never been to before, got up close and personal with some very friendly horses that followed us through a field and avoided the Trolls living under a bridge!


Today  I tried it out in one of our favourite wooded walks! Having looked on the site and getting the Cache co-ordinates and plumbing it in to my sat nav, we headed off with friends! 4 Adults, 9 children and 3 dogs!


We started with a Picnic and then headed off to the place where I knew we would be close to the Cache. I google mapped the co-ordinates to give myself a "Visual" clue of where we needed to be.
We followed the hints given by the person who hid the Cache and after about 10 minutes of hunting under trees and trying to work out how the co-ordinates worked (got my directions a bit muddled) we found the box!

We all gathered to check out the goodies, choose our rewards and add our treats to the box. We signed the book and hid it back where it was found! I am not sure who enjoyed it most.... the adults or the children.... I know there will be more Treasure hunts over this summer with the gang! The buzz after the hunt was great and the children were all happy with their goodies! Time to pop back to the car for a drink, and then a quick tree climb before heading home again!




Check out the Geo caching website for Caches near you and get out side for a bit of Treasure hunting!!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A DAY OF FREE FUN IN THE SUN!

What a lovely, hot, sunny day we had today! So we decided to go for a walk with Heathers childminding
We drove to a local farm shop and parked up. They have a great place with lots of animals to look at. It's free to visit and has a lovely walk up a track by a stream.
 
We started with a picnic on a bench....... a Reindeer decided to try and get some of our lunch!


After lunch we walked up the track and visited the other animals. We saw sheep, lambs, lamas and pigs!

A bit further up we found a big pond with Ducks, Ducklings, Geese and Goslings! They were sooooo cute!
 
The boys found a little bridge and Brendan decided to start a game of Pooh sticks. All the children ran around gathering sticks and braking bigger sticks up to share. They all named themselves after a character from the Pooh Bear stories and then had races, throwing their sticks in one side and running to the other to see who's came out first!



A bit further up the path we found a great shallow part of the stream with a stony bottom and a rope swing! The kids could not wait to get in! We decided to strip down to pants just in case anyone slipped. And it was a good job we did! They loved it! We did get very muddy as the bank started to get wet! It was sooooo worth it though to see each one of them enjoy this time. No TV or gadgets...... just pure, natural fun!











































This felt SOOOO good!!
After a very long play we made our way back to the cars and then drove home. On the way we stopped in another village for some ice lollies..... only to get drawn in to an Easter hunt! We sat and enjoyed the ice lollies and then took a treasure trail sheet each and went on a hunt for the 12 clues. Each clue was a letter and when written in order, gave the Easter treat we needed..... "Hot cross buns!"  They went in to the shop and swapped their finished sheets for a bag of chocolate eggs!

A great bit of number and letter recognition, mark making practice and team work..... all disguised in play!

So that was our day of fun and nature! and all of this cost nothing!

Friday, 15 April 2011

FAIRY HOUSES, TREES AND RISK TAKING

Our children are on half term this week and next. It is lovely to have everyone together and spend time doing fun things together!
Yesterday we decided to go to the woods for a picnic and a play. We spent the day with looking out for the little people and between us had 7 children and lots energy!

We started off with a nice picnic amongst the Bluebells. Everyone seemed ready for their lunch and the food didn't last long!

After lunch Brendan went off to find a good place to make a Fairy house. He found a clearing in the flowers and a tree stump. It was just the place to make a home for Mother Nature and her Root children. One by one the other children finished their lunch and joined him. Gathering sticks, flowers, moss, leaves, pine cones and anything else they could find to make this home.






















team work to clear out a hole......  with a very large stick.

The design changed several times and there was lots of team work..... although Brendan seemed to be main architect! We even had a little lady bird move in!
I recited the story of the Root Children to them all as they built. Some children knew the story and chirped in with bits they remembered.... others just listened! I have to say the Root children have done a great job of covering the floor of the woods in beautiful Bluebells!
After about an hour we moved on to find some good trees to climb! Some of us got braver as the climbing went on.... some of us were brave from the start. I lost Brendan up the tree very quickly. His Auntie Georgia would be very proud as she has been teaching him the finer points of tree climbing over the years!


We found some trees that had been cut down. We had mentioned earlier in the walk that you must not peal bark off the tree's as they may get infections. One little boy started to peal the bark from a chopped down tree and another told him"You must not do that!" I was very impressed that they had listened so well, but I explained that it was ok with this tree as it had been chopped down and so it was dead....... Kenzie found this a bit sad and said it was a shame the tree had died and why did some one chop it down?
So we talked about the reasons that trees might need to be chopped down. They might have been diseased, used for wood or even for thinning out to prevent over crowding and making room and light for other plants!

We counted the rings on the tree to see how old it was. A little bit younger than mummy!

Kenzie and "C" counting tree rings!

We all had such a lovely time and all that natural space and fresh air is so good for everyone.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

A WEEK OF NUMBERS!

This week has been mainly focused on two areas...

The first is the impending Royal Wedding. We Started our month of Prince and Princesses/ weddings! Lots of fun ideas and the children are really enjoying this interesting theme. One little boy is actually very in to weddings at the moment and has been telling me that his Mummy and Daddy got married in a church, so this seems to fit fantastically with following his interests. And what little girl doesn't like dressing up in a Vail?
Here are 2 tray activities that I found on i-child and Activity village!

Decorate the Royal wedding cake!


Dress William and Katie for their big day!
Add the accessories to perfect the look!

We have lots of fun things planned and I am really enjoying this opportunity to be part of something special!

The other theme this week has been "Numbers". Through my observations I have noticed many of the children are finding it hard to recognise numbers and name them. So we have been looking at numbers more closely this week.
 We have had the magnetic number boards out and the magnetic numbers. I left these out for free play and just thought we would look at naming the numbers, but one little girl noticed the mathematical symbols mixed in with the numbers and asked what they were for. So we put together some simple addition sums and she counted out the answers on her fingers and then looked for the correct number magnet. It was lovely to see her not only recognising numbers but looking to extend her understanding of numbers and their use!

simple addition.

Adding up on our fingers!



After a rummage in the playroom the girls came in with an Alien making kit and asked if they could make some.... so off we went to the kitchen and started making Aliens. Not what I had planned but that's the beauty of child led play!

First we made the mold in the play dough

Squeeze in the goo!


Cut out a lid!

Then place it on the top!  
wait 5 minutes..... more numbers!!

Then check the Alien is set!
Then take him out!
And of course all Aliens need a space ship to fly around in!

So we gathered the things we wanted to use to make our spaceships!

Got out the hot glue gun and set about sticking bits together and designing the perfect Alien transport!

This was made by "A" who is nearly 5!


This one was designed by "E" who is 4.5 years!
It's great to see where children's ideas take you!

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