Disclaimer: these items where gifted in exchange for review. Opinions are my own.
As you’ve probably seen we’ve worked with Jaques before a few times reviewing their lovely games. We absolutely love the quality of their wooden games and their games that can be handed down from generation to generation. We love the quality and they make the perfect gift for children as they can learn through play. Wooden toys mean more imagination then plastic (and a little bit of quiet).
With Elijah growing older I wanted to select some more mature items so I picked their abacus and their let’s play deluxe score 4.
The abacus is used to help with counting and maths which will be helpful for years to come with homework and just practicing our numbers and maths. We’ve used it to count to 100. To add and take away numbers to ten and to count forwards and backwards from 0-20. These are great for teaching the times tables too as you can grab how many you want to times and count them and visualise your maths which is helpful for all ages needing too visualise their maths.
The colours and quality are great the neutral counters means it can go nicely in a room without sticking out too much. The colours are great as you can tell which numbers your counting and move in groups of ten if you need too to do ten times tables.
As always they’re packaging is beautiful and makes the perfect gift without a need to reward before giving to someone else. The boxes fit the product perfectly as well so they take up less space on your games cupboard.
Secondly we choose the lets play deluxe score 4 which is fantastic as is travel size. The counters are a good size so that it works your fine motor skills as you grab them and drop them in your selected Column hole. The aim of this game is to get four counters in a row horizontally, diagonally or vertically. The winner is whoever who has the first four. As you can tell Elijah likes to cheat a little and continue a game or try to steal my counters back. Elijah and I really enjoyed this games and it’s so compact it’s travel friendly and could take for days out or holidays.
As we are lunged back into the deep end which is lock-down it’s worrying whether it will be the same as last time or perhaps worse? Will our mental health deteriorate again? What will happen to our children who have only just been reunited with their friends and family’s only to be ripped away from them again. However this time it’s different, we know what too expect and with that comes bit more calm and less panic. We have learnt to adapt to what the world has thrown at us and made it through even our darkest days. So now we’re a week into lock down although i can’t say i’m not still a anxious mess i can say there are things that i am appreciating more and helping me negotiate my way through this confusing time.
One thing i love the most in the world is autumn. I love walks in the park and through the woods with orange, red and yellow filling the floors and air as the wind blows them all around and the leafs dance in front of you. Last lock down it was just nothing but pure heat and being in the uk that meant warm houses with no air con. This time i can wrap up warm and enjoy the cool air. This lock down, i’m taking control of doing things i enjoy more and not letting the hours pass by as i get lost in the abyss.
So first i am keeping active. I am going for walks with my husband and son or just me and my son. I am not rushing my way through going out now. I am taking in the scenery, changing up my routes and looking around at what nature has to offer. I turn my phone of and just chase around after my son and look for leaves and old trees together. I spend time talking and just enjoy being out. I’ll often fill up my thermos and take a hot drink out with me too. It doesn’t feel like were in lock down when we go for a walk it feels like we are in peace. If you have children i highly recommend walks even if round the block just to burn some of that energy, just so we can get some peace. If you live near a park wear a puddle suit go on a wet day and let your child jump in puddles and squelch in mud, it’s free and super fun! If mud and leafs isn’t your cup of tea then you can always exercise from the comfort of your own home. There are so many home workouts free to use on you tube, the same with yoga, unwind your mind and body at the same time.
I am trying to also keep my mind busy, i joined a book club and have gathered a small library worth of books to keep my mind focused when things get hard. The greatest escape is always to another world which is the realm of books. There is always something for someone. Not everyone enjoys physically reading so the world of audio books is another fantastic way to escape for a little while without the effort of reading a few hundred pages! With reading also comes blogging and writing which i love doing with a cup of tea, especially at the end of the day it’s the perfect way to unwind. I find journaling and writing in a diary is also a fantastic way to unwind in the evenings before bed to combat the stress of the day. I also find keeping elijah busy is a fantastic way to entertain me too. We get sensory activities, colouring and crafting everyday. I include elijah as much as i can in the kitchen too which helps me enjoy cooking again too. The next project after elijahs birthday is getting ready for Christmas and boxing up our house to move on to the next chapter of our lives soon.
I am trying to enjoy time with my family more. If there is one thing corona-virus has taught me it is that family and friends are important. That we should try and keep in contact with each other. I never thought of myself as lucky before the lock down but having my son and my husband with me has shown me just how important they are to me.It has shown me that i too am loved and that is something that i never thought was possible in my mind. This lock down we can see another adult and their under school age children outside which means i can see more people and elijah can see other children which makes the world feel so much less lonely too us all.
The biggest thing i am concentrating on is my self care. My skin has been neglected over the last few years and it’s time i treat myself like i deserve. That includes giving myself a full routine of skincare daily and introducing more skincare into both my morning and my evening routine. With the excessive uses of masks out and about my skin is becoming a spotty mine field. The dry weather is no help either! So the first thing i do in the morning is washing my face. I wash my face with facial wash and my electric scrubber. After this i use toner on a reusable cotton pad and get started on the moisturising. I use a serum and then eye cream, i then use a light moisturiser or day cream. My evening routine is very similar except i exfoliate with a scrub or peel every other day.I also use my topical creams after my serums and then apply a night cream. I always use lip balm at night as well to moisturise everywhere on my face. If i’m going out in the sunlight ill always apply a light sunscreen to prevent damage to my skin. When i do my skincare i like to light a candle and slowly massage it in and make it a relaxing environment. I’m also partial to the odd sheet mask or eye and lip masks i try to do these every few days i try to do them when i am particularly stressed so that they become a calming place and not routine!
Of course skincare is not just your face. Its your whole body. We always complain about dry patches of skin but do we nourish our skin first? Using a shower gel or creame that is moisturising and smells fab can always make you feel better. Using body scrubs every few days are a fantastic way to rid the body of dead skin and also leave our skin feeling softer. When out the shower using a moisturiser after helps to keep skin soft and help fight the signs of ageing.
Taking care of your hair and having the odd hair mask here and there can feel like complete luxury so try to incorporate into you bath or showers before you wash your face as when the oils can roll down your skin and cause a greasy feeling face! Of course then you should obviously get into pjs and shove on some cosy socks and snuggle up for the night.
Whatever you do to get through this lock down just know that your not alone. There are lots of people here for you including me, there is so much more to do aswell. Whether your idea of chilling means watching a series on netflix or doing a marathon, try to enjoy it! But remember take care of your skin and your mental health!
I have been gifted nivea products with no expectation to post. I am part of the nivea family and writing about or featuring their products is completely my choice!
As Elijah has gotten older we have tried to incorporate sensory play into our day to day lives. We have started using the outdoors as our play ground more and using natural supplies for both learning and fun. We enjoy going for walks and collecting plants and pebbles for arts and crafts or play.
We enjoy going to the beach and playing with the rocks. We like to build towers with the pebbles, we like to practise writing in the sand with our fingers or sticks. We like to build sandcastles and to dig holes. We like to throw rocks as far as we can in the water. This is Elijah’s favourite activity. We do this all year long even in the winter. We like to collect pebbles to take home with us to paint and then hide on future walks.
On walks we like to gather flowers, we like to gather sticks and leafs. We use the leafs and flowers for arts and craft activities such as sticking them to paper and painting. We often collect pine cones and conkers and use them for sensory play or counting. We also use the conkers to paint with as well sometimes. I like to fill a bowl or tray with flowers and natural things and incorporate Elijah’s toys to them. For example i have often put flowers in water in a tray and filled with some paint so its coloured and got Elijah to explore it. I like to use elijahs tuff tray and pick a theme and add natural items to compliment the play. I.e if i was choosing woodland animals id find all his toys that relate to that so id choose bears, squirrels and deer toys and add sticks, leaves and pine cones.
I like to use water in play. I like to set up a car wash or animal washing stations where i fill bowl with washing up liquid and water and Elijah sits there with a cloth cleaning his toys for ages! We also have a water table which he adores and a sandpit in the garden. He also uses his water and sand table which i often replace the filling to sensory items instead. We like to freeze toys in water and i love to watch Elijah’s mind working trying to get toys out with spoons or by smashing on the ground. You can also freeze flowers also!
We like using sand pits to hide toys or practice scooping or playing with his diggers in. We like using a brush and looking for bigger dinosaurs in the sand. We like hiding toys like a easter egg hunt around the house or in the garden and looking for them and collecting them all up.
You can also give your child a patch of dirt to garden in where they can dig, water and rake. Get them to help watering plants with a watering can. Get them to help plant their plants and seeds. Artificial plants are great for the child who loves to over watering and it teaches them to care for their planet at the same time.
I sometimes use flashcards and books to teach at the same time. I like hiding things in the trays to and instructing him to look for them. He likes digging for dinosaurs in his sandpit and fishing for fish in water with his net. We also hide flowers amongst leaves and fake insects to find.
I really want to get a mud kitchen for the garden for Elijah as i know he’d love it! But i think i’ll wait till hes bored of his kitchen being indoors. Until then we like to use plastic bowls to make mud cakes using dirt and water or we make potions with flowers and water and a little bit of glitter. When hes older i will make perfumes with him like i did with my nan. We used to pick flowers grind them up and place in water to make perfumes. We also look for bugs with our magnifying glass.
I hope you enjoyed my little using nature for sensory play blog post. Comment if you would like more! stay safe, Charlie x
Good morning all, i type this as i sit with the sun peeking through clouds into my living room while listening to the radio. I have a hot chocolate in my hand having the odd warm chocolatey sip before typing and escaping for a moment. I really love the seasons change. I adore looking out my windows at cherry blossom tress and the green leafs coming back in the trees. Seeing new flowers budding through and their heads coming out to say hello for a few months brings me a odd sense of happiness. There is something oddly relaxing about the sunshine peeking through, it warms my heart when there is a blue sky with the whitest of clouds and the sun is shinning.
As the music fills the room i see things more brightly in the sunshine.My living room is grey, i love the grey because its cooling and warming all at once. Normally at this time in the winter i’d still need a light on because the sun would still be stuck behind all the dark clouds struggling to peak through. Now i can open my blinds and enjoy the sunshine lighting my room. The natural light is so much more calming then artificial light having to cause a week glow.
We really enjoy trips outside. It’s that perfect time of year when you can get away with a light jacket then sweating in a thick parka. The sun feels warm on your skin and if it rains it is not absolutely freezing and you feel more willing to stay outside then seek shelter all day. This time of the year as a lot of seasonal affective disorder suffers start to feel a bit better as the weather picks up. Like plants we all need a little bit of sun and warmth. Also the heating bills go down a lot and i can get on board without having to layer up and put the heating on. The sun stays out later and comes out earlier so it feels like the days are longer and i feel like being a bit more of a morning person again. I look at my picnic blanket a bit more and plan picnics for warmer days on the park behind our house. It’s so much nicer being warmed by the sun instead of feeling as though you’re being baked like a potato and sweating it out.
This spring we are planning to take a few days for a weekend away to escape the world for a little bit. To leave our phones off and just enjoy being the three of us. We’re also expecting to have our new carpet fitted tomorrow and i have been waiting forever to have it replaced. When we moved in it was the first thing i wanted gone as its been marked by a previous owners dog chewing on it… We’re also planning to sort the garden out in the late spring and sort out more of a play area for Elijah. It is a bit annoying how big our garden and how much work has been needed over the last few summers but its so much better than the wasteland full of broken glass,dirt and tree trunks it was before . It’s going to be so much fun this year having lots of messy play in the garden and playing with Elijah’s sand pit and his water table(that is if the storms haven’t got to them)! We will of course be taking just as many trips to the zoo and going out with friends a lot more than staying inside with them. It might mean my house may stay a little cleaner then it gets after a play date or 2.
What are you all looking forward too about spring and have you got any plans?
It’s no secret that my favourite time of the week is Friday evening when the weekend starts. It means James has finished for the weekend and we get two whole days together as a family. There’s nothing I enjoy more. We’re always trying to make memories while also remembering resting and spending time together is important too.
Our weekend starts with a coffee from the other person made as we roll out of bed. On a Saturday I or James will have a lay in and on a Sunday we swap and the other person does. I say lay in but we always wake for about 9 am now. The other gets up with Elijah to give him breakfast and play with him. We normally then decide what we’ll do for the day if we haven’t already. We’ll decide somewhere family friendly to go and almost always will eat lunch out. If we go for a walk we have lunch after or before or if we go for a trip to town we will wind up at food at some point too. We quite often go for walks though and decide where on the day. For a treat we will often take Elijah for a day at soft play, to a museum or to the zoo. We normally do this on a Saturday.
After we’ve done our day plans we will normally come home for the evening shove on some pjs and watch something then have a small meal together before putting Elijah to bed and watching a film or series. Or we go too see family for tea and relax round there’s before returning to put Elijah to bed. On a Sunday we like to normally keep this as our chill day. Sometimes we’ll go for a walk or to the shops for something but mainly we like to relax. We get the housework deep cleaning done while Elijahs asleep for a nap. Things like washing, mopping, dusting, polishing, de scaling and scrubbing of rooms if I haven’t done it already. We spend the rest of the day cuddling up watching films, Playing with Elijah and doing some sort of arts or craft. We’ll do painting or do play dough or sometimes baking. We try to do a family activity as much as we can so we have real family time. Sometimes we will invite family or friends over but we normally like to cuddle up just the three of us.
We do like to try and do different things as much as possible so we go to different places for lunch, walks and more. We like to look out for events near us and look for different things in the area. We like to go to museums and to themed days and fates too. We often take strolls on the beach and end up on the amusements. We do love spending time together but also appreciate sometimes it’s nice to have our own time too. So sometimes I’ll go out with a friend or James will. Sometimes I’ll take Elijah out with me so James can have some time to himself. This happens very rarely though as we both agree we like to spend our weekends together and often go out weekdays instead with friends.
Looking forward to our next weekend where we are hoping to take Elijah to his favourite place the zoo! James has had too work the last two Saturdays so we’ve had to put of plans and relax more on sundays. What do you get up to at the weekend and have you got a set relaxation day too? What’s your favourite thing to do?!
I have never met a child who doesn’t enjoy activity sheets, be it colouring, painting or learning to spell. A important resource for all children of all ages, worksheets are so helpful to teach while engaging and learning with your children. Young children will love colouring and looking at pictures. Whereas older children enjoy more sophisticated activity sheets like word searches, spelling and maths sheets. We love orchard toys puzzles and games and always find them both fun and educational. Looking on their website for more toys ideas for Christmas i noticed they have a things to do section. Under this section there are lots of craft ideas such as using household products to make a rocket and even tasty recipes. There is also a out and about section with ideas on things you can use for arts and crafts too. You can print your very own activity sheets and print them for your children to do. There is lots and lots for all ages and interests and only will cost you your ink and paper. So go check them out. This is not a ad i just love this little freebie and all caregivers should be able to save money when they can!
The rain hit hard over the weekend causing floods in some places so we decided to stay in. We recently brought a tuff tray so I decided let’s use it to make mess!
Today we used paper and paint. We got out our dinosaurs, trains and cars to make tracks and prints. We set up the washable paint and cellotaped three bits of paper (A3) together. We got our sponge and normal paintbrushes out and set them up nicely. We put glitter and sequins ready to be scattered on too. We did it while Elijah napped so he saw something was new and got excited to play with it. He kept saying wow!
We talked through the colours and what the items were, letting him choose what he used and showing him how to make foot prints and track prints on the paper. His favourite thing was the large sponge paintbrush which he enjoyed the texture off. He loved soaking it with paint and saying ew and giggling as he brushed it over the paper. We painted his hands and he used his hands to paint and enjoyed doing so! He learnt how to do it himself and grabbed the paintbrushes and dipped the paint on and then painted his hands. He enjoyed the play session lots and lasted atleat twenty minutes.
Normally on rainy days inside we have some sort of themed play. We will normally get the colouring books out and colour. We will get a pack of stickers out and stick to some scrap paper of previous squiggled drawings and make new pictures.
We also get out play dough to shape and mould new things. We get his play dough sets out like his dentist kit and minions hairdressers salon and have themed play. We’ll pretend to make food and make animals and balls and just smash them.
We get out a set of toys at a time like a happy land set and play with them. Normally we get the train track out and pretend to be boarding trains. We will also get the house out and make pretend with the house. We play with the zoo and make pretend there too. We love playing with animals and dinosaurs and have hi speed races across the livingroom with his cars.
The toy kitchen and food is a good thing to do together too. We pretend to cook and stir in our saucepans and serve each other food. We do cutting and seasoning and lots of wash up up too. We talk through the food and what we’re doing too learn what things are and the words for a action.
We play with our puzzles, we work together to do these and he enjoys helping. We play snap and learning games. We always read flash cards together to learn words and colours and shapes. We play wooden magnetic fishing games and try to work the motor reflexes at the same time as spending quality time together.
We set up picnic blankets and have tea party’s and picnics indoors for lunch and sometimes we bring our teddy’s along.
We bake food together. Elijah sometimes helps with making lunch and whenever is bake he loves to help decorate and stir the bowl for me!
Anything can be an indoor activity if you let it be. Don’t let the rain stop the fun! A day in-front of a film with some supper yummy snacks is always fun too and it is important to unwind and relax.